5 Gifts for the Craft Beer Lover Zach Fowle
Brewing a beer is an important step in the life of any beer nerd. The act of creating an alcoholic beverage connects us with the brewers of the past who've gone through the same exact process across millennia. It can be a transcendent experience. It can also be frustrating as hell. The ingredients can stick together in giant, unbreakable clumps; the process of moving the fermented liquid from the fermentation vessel to the keg is an accident waiting to happen; and everything -- everything -- has to be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized.
The folks at Arcadia restaurant and nanobrewery O.H.S.O offer a shortcut: Come brew with the,. All you have to do is make an appointment on O.H.S.O's iTunes app -- which you can download for free from the iTunes store -- and the resident brewers, like hop-scented sherpas, will guide your beer geek through the process of creating his or her own beer. They'll even keg the brew and put it on tap.
It should be too hot to brew beer in Arizona. It should be too dry. It should be too difficult to ship grains and hops through the desert safely. But human ingenuity can't be overestimated -- especially when it comes to alcohol. Brewers have been plying their trade in our state since 1864, and Brewing Arizona, the first book focused on the Grand Canyons State's beer and breweries, captures this history. History buffs will love this one, as will anyone who's cooled down with a beer on a 115-degree day and thought, "How?"
If not just any bottle of beer will appease your geek, go for the biggest, baddest brew available. Snake Venom, hatched by a Scottish brewery called Brewmeister, attains its legendary 67.5 percent ABV through the use of peat-smoked malt, beer and champagne yeast, and a freeze distillation process. Each bottle costs 50 pounds (which is $81 in real money), but can you really put a price on something so extreme?
Maybe you love your beer geek, but you're tired of the aromas malted barley and beard fungus and yeast farts that tend to linger around him. Say "I'd like you to not smell like a homeless Bavarian" softly with beer soap. The Beer Soap Co.'s products have all the cleaning power of mass-marketed body washes but are made with your favorite beers, from Dogfish Head 90 Minute to Rogue Dead Guy. Lather with lager! Scrub with saison!
Ever been drinking a beer and thought, "This would be really good with some cinnamon?" Dogfish Head Craft Brewery's Randall Jr. gives you the ability to infuse your beers with whatever flavors your little heart desires. Dogfish first developed Randall the Enamel Animal, a contraption with chambers that can be filled with ingredients to enhance the flavor of a beer, in 2002. Since then, the invention's dropped a lot of weight -- Randall Jr. is just 16 ounces, allowing you to spike a single beer with hops, spices, fruits or whatnot. Mmmmm, whatnot.