Start A Holiday Tradition With Beer
This past weekend, I heard Burl Ives’ familiar voice while watching the classic animated movie Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer on television. It’s a signal for me that it is time for the media to tell me what I should buy for others during this traditional gift-giving season. Because craft beer is more popular than ever, there has been an abundance of “top gifts” lists this year that are specifically tailored to beer enthusiasts. What I asked for, and what I want to give, however, has yet to make one of these lists.
This Christmas, I plan to share a beer with my brothers.
The idea started with the annual email between the three of us that discussed presents. This year, the first email said, “Christmas list due by Friday. I’ll do the same and send you mine by then.” Is this message not the epitome of thoughtfulness and brotherly love? Gift-giving has become nothing but a routine and an excuse to get presents that typically end up at Goodwill in a year.
So I decided to end the practice.
To celebrate the holidays in 2011 and in years to come, I proposed to celebrate our shared passion of good beer.
All three of us are in the same place only four or five times a year, and those occasions are typically too hectic to follow Charlie Papazian’s well-known advice to “[r]elax. Don’t Worry. Have a homebrew,” or any type of brew for that matter. At the end of this month, however, I wanted to do just that. I emailed my brothers back with the suggestion that we “share a beer over the holidays. It does not have to be on Christmas or even on Christmas Eve. It just has to be a night while we are all at home together and when minimal distractions exist.”
For fun, and because we enthusiasts love the thrill of the hunt, I included other criteria for the occasion. I wrote, “Each brother must bring one 22 oz or 750 ml bottle to the table. The bottle must be special for a particularly reason, e.g., rare vintage, limited release, or not in the distribution area of the other brothers. (Note that this does not mean expensive.) In the spirit of Christmas, try to keep your contribution a secret until we pop the cap.”
My brothers have never responded to an email as quickly as they did this one. One brother replied that he cannot wait to “start this tradition!” The other one noted that he “will definitely put a lot more thought into this one, more so than previous years’ gifts.” Thanks bro.
This holiday season, after you peruse the “Top Gifts for Beer Lovers” lists that run the gamut of suggestions, from a ridiculous pair of sunglasses with a built-in bottle opener to the best possible gift of a subscription to All About Beer Magazine, consider the simple act of sharing a beer with someone. You may have lost the bottle opener that plays your alma mater’s fight song that your friend gave you five years ago, but you will not lose the memory of relaxing, not worrying, and having a special beer with a loved one.
Oh, and my brothers already have All About Beer Magazine subscriptions. Do you?