What do you get the brewhead who's drank it all? Here's what good Austin beer drinkers are asking Santa for.
1) A beer-pairing basket from Antonelli's Cheese Shop (4220 Duval) Like a beer elf, Courtney Schwamb, Antonelli's beer buyer, can help pick a beer from their exotic selection, and Kara Chadbourne, cheesemonger, will recommend cheeses and charcuterie (like the Whiskey Salami pictured) to pair with it. Since most foods here are sold by weight, you can spend a lot or a little for the craft beer enthusiast on your list. Ask for a wooden cheese crate for presentation.
2) Black Star Co-op membership (7020 Easy Wind Dr.) For $180, get a permanent membership, plus gift-wrap-worthy goodies (membership is $150 sans swag). Members enjoy special events all year round. For only $36, combine the Co-op "Swag Package" gift special – a shirt, pint glass, and brewzie – with the "Four-Pack Sampler," which currently includes Epsilon, a new seasonal Scotch ale.
3) Ranger Creek's Small Batch Series No. 1-4. Hand numbered, the flashy baby Belgian bottles dipped in wax contain rare and experimental beer. No. 4, an imperial smoked porter aged in Ranger Creek's own bourbon barrels, will be released within days. As of this writing, Sunrise Mini Mart (1809 W. Anderson) still stocked the first three ($5.99-6.99). Tell them it's a gift, and they might throw in a free glass. Spec's, Central Market, Hyde Park Market, Whip In, Gabriel's in San Marcos, and Twin Liquors on Research have also carried the entire series.
4) A stocking full of mini-growlers. Though most craft beer drinkers own 64-ounce growlers, many do not own a 32-ounce one. Small growlers allow enthusiasts to try more varieties on each fresh beer run. Whole Foods offers small growlers for $6.99. Look for Live Oak Primus Weizenbock while you're there.
5) Glassware and gift sets. Ommegang and Duvel offer gift sets this time of year with matching glassware for Belgian groupies. Or, for a DIY touch, create your own six-pack at Whip In (1950 S. I-35), and decorate your cardboard carton with a collage of the recipient's favorite Austin Chronicle articles.
You're welcome, and good luck.
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