Give a gift that gets better with age.

Vintage beer

© Lightbox Images Photography, image by Thomas Cooper, excerpted from Vintage Beer

I’ve been told I’m not an easy person to buy a gift for. Given my obsession with beer (drinking it, sure, but also researching it, brewing it, chasing around town for it), it should be easy, right? Just buy me an interesting six-pack, I say. But apparently I’ve given folks the impression that I’m a bit particular, and they have a little trepidation about buying me beer. D’oh, foot shot.

To make amends, and to aid my fellow beer geeks, I’m here to help.

A new and growing trend is vintage beer. Yep, there are certain beers that can develop and improve (much like a fine wine) after a few years in the cellar. One of the best examples is barley wine, both English (like Avery Samael’s Ale or Weyerbacher Blithering Idiot) and American (like Sierra Nevada Bigfoot or Smuttynose Barleywine Style Ale). While these ales pack a boozy punch when young, a year or two melds that heat into sweet notes of caramel, amaretto, and dried fruits like raisins and figs.

So this year when you’re holiday shopping for the beer geek on your list, just pop into your favorite bottle shop and ask for a bomber (wine bottle–sized) of their finest barley wine. A note attached saying “This is to add to your beer cellar” is sure to impress.

Patrick Dawson

Patrick Dawson is an award-winning beer writer, an avid homebrewer, a BJCP beer judge, and a general lover of all things beer. He is the… See Bio

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