Everyone has gotten a bottle of wine as a gift at one time or another. A fine bottle of beer can be easily substituted for that person who absolutely will not enjoy a bottle of wine. In the wrong hands, wine will just be re-gifted or used for cooking. Below are some ideas to help you drift away from the common and into something that will be remembered and cherished. Cheers!

Arrogant Bastard Box Set, Stone Brewing Company
This is an excellent choice if the recipient is either a craft beer fan or an arrogant bastard. I have written about Arrogant Bastard before and how much I adore it. This is a box set containing that, as well as Bourbon Barrel Aged Arrogant Bastard (just as the name implies, Arrogant Bastard aged in bourbon barrels), Lucky Bastard (a blend of Arrogant Bastard, Oaked Arrogant Bastard and Double Bastard) and Double Bastard (a stronger version of Arrogant Bastard). I said bastard 10 times, now 11.

Single bottle option: A bottle of Arrogant Bastard fits nicely into a wine bottle gift box.

Chimay Gift Pack, Bières de Chimay S.A.
I have seen many varieties of this company’s gift boxes. Some have multiple bottles; some have multiple bottles and a branded glass. I recommend the one with the branded glass, as Belgians are quite picky about having proper glassware for their beers. This is a great choice for wine drinkers, as these authentic Belgian ales have subtle nuances of vanilla, dark fruit and oak-like tannins.

Single bottle option: The red bottle is called Chimay Premiere. It is a dubbel with active carbonation that tastes of dark fruit with a hint of clove-like spice. It’s great around the holidays, and like the Arrogant Bastard, the 750 ml. bottle gifts as easily as wine.

Ommegang Gift Pack, Brewery Ommegang
This New York brewery puts out a must-have gift pack with its interpretations of Belgian ales. According to the company, “The ales are: Three Philosophers ~ A famed Belgian blend: a dark, malty quadruple ale with a splash of authentic Belgian Kriek (cherry-lambic). A  fantastic sipping brew. Hennepin Saison ~ Rustic golden ale modeled on the brews farmers make in Belgium, with a touch of ginger. Chocolate Indulgence ~ A Belgian-style stout brewed with imported Belgian chocolate. Dark, rich, with subtle chocolate notes ~ dry, not sweet.” It also comes with a sweet branded glass.

Single bottle option: A bottle of Hennepin takes the place of a bottle of wine quite nicely. It is a saison with notes of pepper, grapefruit, ginger and clove. It goes well with a holiday feast

Non-alcoholic gifts
You cannot go wrong with any of the above choices unless you are in a dry workplace. For those times, I have a few recommendations. Julio’s Liquors in Westborough has a fine selection of glassware, hot sauce, bottle openers, cigars and other assorted things that beer lovers love. Crust Artisan Bakeshop in Worcester has a lovely selection of farmstead cheeses, fresh-baked breads, coffee and assorted sundries that I, personally, would love to see under the tree.

By Kerry Cyganiewicz