ABV Chicago 2015 Holiday Shopping Guide

ABV Gift GuideEvery year, most websites give you their picks for the best holiday gifts. Since we’re a beer site, we thought we’d chime in with our list. From the intellectual to the functional; the practical to the absurd, we have everything (and everyone!) covered.

Ryan’s Picks

AudHopsThe Audacity of Hops  – Tom Acitelli

Despite a title that borders on “cute,” this is a treasure trove of information and anecdotes that comprise the genesis of the American craft beer scene as we know it. Acitelli goes from coast-to-coast to tell the stories of the innovators in all their spectacular glory – and their unspectacular failures. Also, there’s some great content regarding how corporate beer strategized to take down craft breweries in the late 1990’s that reminds you what those brewing giants are capable of in the marketplace and why we should be more concerned about corporate buyouts. This is an informationally dense yet easy-to-digest book that can be read in chunks over time, like during your baby’s multiple daily naps, which is how I read this whole thing.

beersaverBeer Savers

Perfect stocking stuffer. I use these with a bomber that I’m drinking over the course of a night that I want to keep cold without going flat. Cheaper than your Hermetus.

This product image released by Doggy Beer Bones Company shows dog treats made from spent brewing gain. The craft beer industry is getting crafty about how to use the spent grain and hops left after brewing, turning them into everything from bread, soil for mushrooms, even lip balm. (AP Photo/Doggy Beer Bones Company)

Doggie Beer Bones

The perfect gift for your drunk dog. But seriously, these sound like something I would eat.

craft_beer_or_nothing_infant_bodysuitCafe Press Craft Beer or Nothing Infant Bodysuit

Want your baby to be insufferable at its very first party? Well here’s the onesie for you! If you’ve always wanted to project onto your baby how your beer choice is superior to those that haven’t taken the time to learn about the wonders of craft beer, then this is $19.99 well spent, my friend.

tasting beerTasting Beer – Randy Mosher

I’m mainly putting this on the list to remind Craig that he borrowed this from me about a year ago and never gave it back. Hey Craig, I want that back. But feel free to buy me another copy.

RISArtBeer Art by MC Johnsen

This one’s an Etsy link, but I sincerely enjoy MC’s depictions of the aromatic and flavor elements of different beer styles that manages to be informative and beautiful at the same time. The prints run pretty cheap, and she’s a solid person, so you should buy one for yourself and one for a friend.

Beer_Belt_BlackBeer Utility Belt

Ready yourself for a hands-free Dark Lord Day next year by putting all your freshest East Coast IPAs in this handy waist accessory. This is the next best thing until they actually invent Jerry’s trenchcoat from “Parker Lewis Can’t Lose.”

Craig’s Picks

TravelwellTravelwell Bottle Limo

If you’re anything like me, when you travel you’re always on the lookout for beer you can’t normally get. While using socks and dirty clothes as packing works well, if you grab too many brews you won’t be able to fit everything in your checked bag. That’s where the Bottle Limo comes in. Not only can it store up to 12 bombers with lined dividers, but it does so with little to no added packing needed. Additionally, the case has pockets on 3 sides to carry other items (which I usually use to put bubble wrap in for extra protection) and a retractable handle/wheel combo so you don’t have to lug it to and from the airport. Not bringing back more than 6 beers? (WHO ARE YOU?!?!?) Half of the dividers in the case are Velcro, so you can remove them to store other things. I have taken it on many trips, plus my friends have borrowed it for their trips, and, together, we’ve only lost one bottle (my fault, on its first return home, but I’ve since learned my lesson). My highest recommendation for any traveler.

Last CallLast Call – Daniel Okrent

Prohibition was a very important time in America’s history, especially if you’re a beer drinker. It not only lead to the three tier distribution system, but also gave rise to a variety of craft sodas. Combine that with the Women’s Suffrage movement and the rise of gangsters during Prohibition, and America in the 1920s becomes one of the most interesting times in America’s history. In Daniel Okrent’s Last Call, he traces the factors that led to the passing of the Eighteenth Amendment, the problems it created, and the eventual repealing of it with the Twenty-First Amendment. Okrent fleshes out all principles involved, from the well-known (Al Capone) to the lesser known (Wayne Wheeler). An excellent read for fans of both history and beer.

ProhibitionKen Burns Prohibition

Don’t like reading? Based off Daniel Okrent’s book, Ken Burns: Prohibition visually retells the era of Prohibition. If you’ve seen any of Ken Burns other works (including Baseball and the Civil War), you know this is a quality watch covering as many aspects of the era as possible.

byo2BYO two-bottle neoprene carry case

Get invited to a lot of tastings? Unless you ARE the tasting (providing all the bottles), you’re probably bringing 2-3 bottles. The carry case is really too much for that, book bags don’t keep them cool and the bottles clank around, and you’re not simply carrying them with no bag. Hello, BYO. With it, you can carry two bottles (up to 750 mL if necessary), retain most of the cool, and not have any of the clanking. They make a one and a three holder (for up to 750 mL) as well as a six-pack one (but that doesn’t hold bombers), but the two is perfect for those bottle shares.

Beer CardHail to the Ale Beer Glass Slide card

These interesting beer style-inspired cards are a great gift for the beer aficionado. Designed by Kim Leshinski from Hail to the Ale, you write your message on the pull out card, and watch as the glass “fills up” with beer. A wide variety of beer styles are represented, and there are both winter/Christmas and other seasons available for purchase.

ABV ShirtABV Chicago t-shirt

Yes, these exist, although not many. Hit us up at abvchicago@gmail.com if you’d like one. Sizes adult S-XL, $20 each; can either be shipped (extra cost) or arranged for pick up. Printed on grey American Apparel 50/25/25 track shirt with our logo art from Mathew LaFleur. Get them before Ryan takes them all, as it’s “the most comfortable and best fitting shirt” he owns.

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