BREWER’S SERIES NUTS
Despite those Bavarian monks, I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that beer is not actually food. But peanuts made with beer? Awesome food.
City Peanut Shop, 803 W. Bannock St., Boise (citypeanut.com), has created a Brewer’s Series of nuts. You’ll find flavors concocted using local beer, and usually priced around $5.99 per half pound.
City Peanut describes its Payette Brewing Co. Mutton Buster Brown Ale peanuts as “a little sweet, a little malty and very tasty.” You may or may not detect much malt, but it’s easy to agree: Very tasty. As I sit here chomping Rustler IPA nuts and typing, I am picking up a distant, hoppy bitterness on the finish. Kinda cool.
A big standout? The Boise Brewing Session Nuts. Made for enjoying with a pint or two of any beer, these peanuts have a little honey mustard kick.
The best part about buying Brewer’s Series nuts? It’s important to sample all of them.
BARREL-AGED IMPERIAL STOUT
Nobody really wants to pay $15 or $20 for a bottle of beer. That’s why a quality barrel-aged imperial stout will be a much-appreciated gift.
Buy local and snag a bottle of Twelve Gauge Imperial Stout from Payette Brewing Co. (payettebrewing.com, available widely at area retailers, $13-$15). The brewery ages its chocolate- and coffee-noted imperial stout in bourbon barrels, where it picks up vanilla, oak and other boozy goodness. The wax-dipped, stamped bottles are classy, too.
A top-notch, last-minute regional option? Deschutes Brewery’s The Abyss ($16-$19) is slated to hit Boise retailers a day or two before Christmas. With a molasses and licorice component, The Abyss has a distinct, rich characteristic.
Consider buying two of any barrel-aged stout — one for this holiday, one to be cellared for a future Christmas Eve sipping experience.
As long as brewers insist on marketing high-alcohol beers in 22-ounce bottles, drinkers will have to figure out how to not waste beer. That means resealing a partially full bottle for the next day. A rubber band and plastic wrap is better than nothing. But here are two solutions that make standout stocking stuffers.
I’ve recommended the Metrokane Champagne and Wine Sealer ($8.84, Amazon) in the past. I love mine. But the beer resealer that I really want from Santa is the totally nifty Hermetus Bottle Opener & Resealer, pictured ($9.99, Amazon). Why is it so cool? 1) It’s a bottle opener. 2) It’s a bottle resealer. 3) It’s made in Germany.
As Idaho’s beer scene expands, so do fashion options for bragging about it. Last year, I pointed out the Idaho 208 Local Brew T-shirt, which features a Gem-State-shaped pour on it ($24, banana-ink.com).
This year, let’s highlight the Drink Idaho Beer T-shirt, pictured ($24.99, wearboise.com).
One friendly suggestion for these T-shirt designers? In an outdoor-recreation-infatuated state like Idaho, beer cans, not bottles, is where it’s at. How about a shirt with a sledgehammer flattening a can: “Get smashed in Idaho”? (OK, bad idea.)
HYDRO FLASK PINT
Come on, $22 for a 16-ounce cup? Really? How will this thing keep my beer colder than any other mug? It’s not like there’s a lid on it.
That was me the first time I held a Hydro Flask True Pint (Hydroflask.com).
A year later, I have used mine a gazillion times. The True Pint does keep beer cold longer.
How, you ask?
What, do I look like a scientist?
All I know is that it rules. I use it when I’m outdoors. I use it when I’m indoors. I use it way more than I use my Hydro Flask 64-ounce growler. (Also an excellent gift, but more expensive — although it has dropped to $43.99 at Amazon.)
Next time your gift recipient sets down his beer and gets distracted for a few minutes, it will still be chilly when he returns. That’s all you need to know. Forget about the “enhanced lip for the perfect beer-drinking experience,” the “sweat-free powder coat finish” and the lifetime warranty.
OK, the warranty is nice.