Beer is the next big thing. Especially here in the Pacific Northwest, it seems that new microbrews, craft beers, independent brewpubs and even marketable homebrews are popping up all over the place. There are many reasons for the recent beer boom, but no matter what, it’s safe to say that the more beers there are, the more beer lovers there will be. And the more beer lovers are there, the more we will all need to find gifts for beer lovers! In addition to our beer gift baskets you already know and love, I am pleased to highlight two of GiftTree’s brand new beer companion gifts. Recommendations for beer and cheese pairings follow as well.
Personalized Hopside Down® Beer Glass
This is my personal favorite of all of our excellent beer gifts. My brother-in-law and I have already pledged to add more pint glasses to our at-home collection, and this will be the perfect start. The heavy double-walled glass keeps the beer cold while keeping the outside of the glass warm and without condensation. The unique design of the personalized Hopside Down® beer glass makes your glass look uniquely stunning after the pour, and a complimentary personalized initial is the icing on the cake.
The old-fashioned moonshine jug is growing in popularity now for beer, with tons of practical uses: parties, trips to the beach, picnics, or just to fill at the pub and bring back home to share. This stainless steel growler (most are glass or ceramic) features an ergonomic handhold, a gasket ring sealer lid to prevent carbonation leakage (no flat beers here!) and a large 64 oz capacity. More than that though, with the personalization feature, you get include their name in an exclusively-designed vintage beer logo for a final result that says “[their name here] Brewing Co.” It’s a seriously impressive novelty beer gift they’re sure to love.
To go along with our exciting new beer gifts, here are some unique ideas for beer and cheese pairings. Traditionally cheese is paired with wine, but notice the similar aromatic qualities and complexities of gourmet cheeses and craft beers. (And think about the richness and wonder of beer cheese soup!) Beer and cheese can be paired together exquisitely well. These suggestions came with the help of several esteemed sources such as Esquire Magazine, NPR.org, and BeerAdvocate.com.
Sharp Aged Cheddar and IPA
IPAs bring the hop factor – that pleasant bitterness that’s not sour, but thoroughly enjoyable. They’ll also bring citrus, fruit, and a piney character. To complement that brightness and zip on your palette you’ll want the deep smokiness and big punch of well-aged cheddar. I’d suggest Beecher’s Smoked Flagship with Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA for well-layered pairing.
Muenster and Pilsner
Muenster is basically the wise grandfather of American cheese – it’s soft, creamy and versatile, but it stands alone much better than the inexpensive processed American cheese we’re used to. Most groceries will have several good brands of Muenster (Tillamook, Organic Valley) – just pick one and pair it with any of your favorite Pilsners. The drinkability of the Pilsner matches the versatility of the Muenster, but both retain gourmet character. The best comfort lunch I know is a Muenster Grilled Cheese on Artisan Bread with a light Pilsner such as Stella Artois.
Gruyere and Kolsch
The Kolsch is an extremely intriguing tasting experience that sometimes defies explanation. It’s a traditional German golden-style ale with a medium body, usually copper color, sometimes a muted citrus aroma and adequate level of hoppiness. They tend to be a little more drinkable than IPAs while remaining very complex. Kolsch pairs well Gruyere, the meaty, nut-like Swiss cheese. Especially when the cheese is liberally included in rich, salty French Onion Soup, it’s another great comfort lunch on a wintry weekend. Go for the Double Mountain Kolsch with Trader Joe’s Gruyere.
Cheers to new gifts, cheese, and beer! What’s your favorite pairing?