Present-hunting for a beer lover? Bring our list of giftable brews to the bottle shop.
The Lost Abbey Deliverance
Tomme Arthur’s latest is a big, boozy ode to barrel-aging: A blend of bourbon-barrel-aged Serpent’s Stout and brandy-barrel-aged Angel’s Share barelywine, it’s black, hot and (pleasantly) ominous.
Pisgah Vortex II
It doesn’t get smoother than this organic Russian imperial stout released twice a year; the beer effortlessly moves from ultraroasty to chest-warmingly boozy in one seamless swallow.
Belgium’s Dupont brews this sweet, modern version of an early Roman Empire dram with wheat, woodruff, bog myrtle and nearly 20 additional herbs and spices; this year, bottles finally hit the States.
Samuel Adams/ Weihenstephan Infinium
Champagne’s got nothing on the 2011 release of this collaboration beer: Belgian yeast supplies big banana esters, dry hopping lends a light floral flavor, and Champagne-style yeast conditioning provides the body of a bottle of bubbly.
Lightning Electrostatic Ale
Forget what you think you know about bière de gardes; this massive San Diego version doubles—no, triples—the fruity esters, bumps up the mouthfeel, inflates the ABV to 10% and spins the style on its head.
10 Barrel ISA
The best beer gifts aren’t always giants; this India-style session ale (read: a 5.5%-ABV IPA brewed with a hint of wheat) is completely mellow and totally on trend.
Hill Farmstead Art
Have a beer-crazy uncle? Gift this wonderfully rustic, wine-barrel-aged saison, an earthy-tart homage to the Vermont brewer’s great uncle.
Finnriver Dry-Hopped Cider
This semi-sweet cider dry-hopped with Cascades makes a thought-provoking gift for the hop fiend: The front of the sip is all sweet Washington apples, then green, floral hops step in and sweep the swallow clean.
Nebraska Melange a Trois
Snatch up whatever your bottle shop has left of this dynamic Belgian-style blonde. Fresh from a six-month nap in Chardonnay barrels, the 10%-ABV beer stings your cheeks with honeydew-lemon brightness, oaky tannins and a tart punch.
Deschutes The Abyss
The 2011 version of the iconic molasses-and-licorice-infused imperial stout blend is the last batch by genius brewer Larry Sidor, who struck out on his own this summer.
Shmaltz/Terrapin Reunion Ale ’11: A Beer for Hope
For the fifth year, a collaborative beer brewed in conjunction with Pete’s Wicked Ale creator Pete Slosberg benefits Myeloma and bone cancer research. This year’s brew is a dry, mole-like imperial brown ale loaded with chocolate and flecked with vanilla and chili peppers.
You’d do well to wrap up Alaskan’s annual Smoked Porter, but be extra-generous and give this stout, too; it features the same house-smoked malts showcased in the porter, but includes fireweed honey and local white birch syrup.
High Water Hop Riot IPA
The latest and greatest in IPAs is this superdank, 7.3%-ABV version from Bay Area newcomer High Water Brewing. Each sip explodes with resiny, woody hops that make way for grapefruit notes so juicy, they quite literally make you salivate.
Goose Island Bourbon County Stout 2010
Grow one of the oldest vertical collections in craft beer with this 13%-ABV behemoth. Brewed in 2010 and just on shelves now, this bourbon-barrel-aged stout is oaky, smoky, chocolaty—and seriously hot with bourbon.
Bison Organic Gingerbread Ale
Burned the cookies? Bring this beer. The Berkeley, Calif., brewery packs a porter with clove, ginger and allspice notes, and gives it a bit of bitterness and a dry finish; serve with its namesake—or even better—with whipped-cream-topped pumpkin pie.
The 2011 edition of this 100-point old ale is a perfect raisin-studded, wood-laced addition to any geek’s beer cellar.
+ONE CAN: Buckbean Very Noddy
Don’t let the simplistic can fool you: This limited-edition, imperialized version of the brewery’s Black Noddy schwarzbier is a tongue-tingling study in malt intensity with a well-disguised 10.5%-ABV.