What? Not done with your holiday shopping? Yeah, neither are we. But we've been making lists -- and checking them twice -- and we've got some suggestions for the nice people on yours. Today, Chow Bella's Gift Guide for the beer lover.
See also: -Sun Up's The Nut Before Christmas
Sam Adams Utopias A beer lover will never turn down a nice bottle, and there are few nicer than this yearly release from Boston Beer Co. At 29 percent ABV, Utopias is considered the strongest "true" beer in the world, blending beers as old as 19 years and aging them in casks that previously bourbon, rum and port. Just make sure you really like the person you're buying for -- the brew kettle-shaped bottles run around $200 each. Price: $140-$200, depending on where you get it
The Beer Buckle Problem: the beer geek in your life loves to drink -- but he also loves to dance, and when he flings his arms about in fits of rhythm, beer flies across the room in an embarrassing and stain-inducing manner. Solution: the Beer Buckle. At first glance it's you're average stylishly oversized buckle, but flip the face down and a spring-loaded ring pops up to hold your brew in place while you boogie. Price: $35
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Tours on Tap The Arizona beer scene is a larger, more confusing place than it once was, and sometimes you need a tour guide to help navigate the wilderness. Founded by Cicerone Felipe Carreras, Tours on Tap offers private group beer tours that take interested parties behind the scenes in Phoenix's top breweries, restaurants and brewpubs. Along the way, beer experts offer lessons on the history and production of beer along with practical information such as how to choose a beer, how to recommend a beer and how to pair beer with food. Price: $75-$115 per person
Bottle Openers Most beer geeks aren't the burliest beefcakes around, but you can toughen yours up -- or at least make him seem tougher -- with a lethal-looking bottle opener. Styles vary, of course, but we like the brass knuckles pictured above for people-punching and bottle-popping. For the even more hardcore, there's the BottleFly -- a bottle opener with swinging hinges like a butterfly knife. If your beer geek has to rumble to protect his love of IPAs, he'll be ready. Price: $23 for the knuckles, $9 for the BottleFly Hydro Flask Though Arizona's current growler policy states that breweries and bars can only fill glass containers, the law's bound to change pretty soon. When it does, you'll want to get your geek a Hydro Flask, the growler of the future. Made from food-grade stainless steel, the 64-ounce growler has a wide mouth for gulping and vacuum insulation that can keep beer cold for days. Price: $50
A Good Night's Sleep Along with adding flavor, aroma and bitterness to beer, whole hop flowers can actually act as a natural sedative -- a simple whiff can encourage a gentle trip to Sleepytown. In fact, the aroma of good quality hops is such an effective soporific that people who farm the flowers often get sleepy on the job. If your beer geek has trouble counting Zs, build him a hop pillow. All it takes is a small muslin bag filled with whole hop cones tucked inside the pillowcase -- cheap, easy, effective. Ready-made versions like the one above are also available. Sweet dreams. Price: Around $10 for homemade versions, around $30 for pre-made