- Don't buy a whole case.
- Don't buy the most expensive.
- Don't buy something that is spiced.
- You might want to stay away from the seasonals too.
What should you do?
- Talk to somebody who knows the beer they are selling and ask their advice.
- Go with the recipients favorite beer.
- Buy something that is similar to their favorite beer.
- Find out what micro/craft beer is popular this time of year. (ask at the store)
What would I do?
- If I didn't know too much about beer and the recipient didn't either, anything from Sam Adams is a good place to start. Seriously, the only mainstream Sam Adams Beers I don't like are the Cherry Wheat and the Cranberry Lambic.
- Something from a local brewer adds a nice twist. Go with their flagship. A nice ale or lager or one of each. You don't need to buy the craziest one they have.
- Some of the best beer you can find (ask at the store) and couple that with something you know they like. If they know you are into beer and you know they want to experiment, then give them what you know they like and add a kicker. Perhaps a six pack of Guinness with a bomber of Stone's Arrogant Bastard Ale. Remember even the most expensive widely available beers won't cost much compared to wine.
For all those planners out there (not me).
- The Familiar - Find out what they like and look for something similar that they may have never tasted. Buy a bottle for yourself so you can see what it tastes like. Repeat as necessary until you find something your comfortable with. This is my approach with Bryan this year :-)
- Keep on Giving - Perhaps a beer of the month club? Not sure how much these cost these days. My wife did this for me one year when we lived in Virginia. It was pretty cool. Especially since I was in the early stages of my beer tasting journey. If anybody has suggestions let us know.
- Beer from Another Region - Find some beer that you just can't get around your region and get it. New Glarus comes to mind as being Wisconsin distribution only. There are many...many more.
- Local Specialties - Go to the local brew pub (beermapping.com) and see if they have something special bottled. Tell them you are looking for a special gift. In Southeastern, PA Sly Fox has some interesting bombers like Christmas Ale and Odyssey Imperial IPA. Watch for a tasting here of the Christmas Ale.
- Learn and Execute - Do your research. Check out some beer sites and see what people are raving about. Chances are you'll be well rewarded for your efforts.
Ok...ok...I'm sure I could think of some more, but, I need to get Bryan's gift. I hope you don't have to buy for the beer guy that has tasted everthing. Sheesh.