Monthly Archives: December 2011

The Season of Giving: Beer Gift Packs

We’ve all been denying it and dreading it, but it’s time to come to terms with it: the holidays are here.  I don’t know about you folks, but this week and next for me will be a chaotic haze of gift buying, office parties, secret-santaing and dinner partying.

So you need to get something.  Ideally under $20-$50 and you kind of want to avoid getting everyone the same coffee table book of “Chairs Throughout History”.  While thinking about it you grab a beer…and then it hits you.

It’s one of my favorite seasons right now…BEER GIFT BOX SEASON!  That glorious time of year where breweries decide to make a box set that samples their beer and comes with a beautiful glass.  They’re cheap, they’re pretty and they’re tasty!  They truly are good gifts for the dinner partying or office partying crowd.

The following is a list of some favourites I’ve known of.  Speak to your local Boozemonger for information on purchasing/ordering.  Of course, prices may vary and I can’t be held responsible if you spoil the gift by opening it and trying it for yourself.

1. Historic Ales From Scotland Gift Pack
William Bros. Brewery
$9.60

This is a really fun set.  Comes with four bottles of historic ales (Pine Ale, Heather Ale, Elderberry Ale and Gooseberry Ale) which all, to my surprise the first time I tried it, taste just wonderful.  The story behind them is also amazing and listed on the back of the bottle so you can learn something (The Gooseberry Ale was originally brewed by 16th century Scots monks, the Pine Ale was brought over by the Vikings and so on).  This is a nice and cheap set which brings out a sort of adventurous spirit in people with the results always being good ones.  I strongly suggest picking up this set.

Taste of Belgium Gift Pack
Anheuser-Busch InBev
$19.95

To regular readers here, SHUT UP I KNOW HEAR ME OUT. Let’s face it, you’re bound to have some friends, no matter how much you try to pour craft beer down their throats, that are going to like the simple stuff.  This pack has three beers with accompanying glasses for each one. Stella Artois, Hoegaardan and Leffe Brune.  While I can’t say I’m a huge fan of the first two, I have to acknowledge that people love them and that’s cool.  Also, Leffe Brune is truly a wonderful beer and mixes it up a little.  While a beer snob would turn his or her nose up to this, it does make an ideal gift for a friend who likes that kind of thing and ESPECIALLY for “mystery gifting” at office parties.  It IS practical.

Mill St. Organic, Tankhouse or Coffee Porter Gift Pack
Mill St. Brewery
$6.95

I actually bought one of these (The Coffee Porter one) for a Dinner Party I’m going to tonight.  Three different packs; one for their Organic, their Tankhouse Ale and their very tasty Coffee Porter.  Each beer comes with a glass that will suit the beer (The Coffee Porter comes with a Snifter Glass, for example) and they pack a HUGE punch as a present for a really cheap price.  Once again, ideal for office party Secret Santas or dinner parties and the beer is of exceptional quality!  And screw it, I may very well buy one or two of these myself.

Erdinger Weissbier Bavarian Gift Pack
Erdinger Weissbräu
$9.95

A pretty damn refreshing beer!  This pack comes with two beers, the traditional Weissbier and Erdinger’s superb Dunkel as well as a glass that goes well with this style of beer.  The beer is tasty and is sure to attract even the beer-haters of the group.  And while Weissbiers are considered by a few people to be a better drink in the summer months, I think they are still quite amazing in the winter months.  The nice maltiness of the Dunkel will add to the holiday ambience considerably.

Chimay Gift Set
Bières de Chimay
$19.95

This is a gift set for the beer lover friend of yours.

You remember my post on Trappist Beers, right? Of course you do!  Chimay is one of the seven Trappist breweries in the world and are the most aggressive with their advertising and sales.  This set comes with their three famous beers, the blue cap, red cap and white cap, as well as a BEAUTIFUL Abbey Goblet to drink it all down with.  Seriously a wonderful set that allows you to try the brews of one of the more famous breweries out there.

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So there we go!  There are more out there, of course so be sure to get down to your booze emporium and check out what’s available!  And hey, maybe pick one or two out for yourself while you’re at it.

Let’s all try and survive the holidays, folks.

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Filed under Beer Products, seasonal, Tips

Who Am I & What Do I Think I’m Doing?

Just thought I’d post a little reminder on what the hell this site is and who I am spouting all this stuff.

My name is Robin LeBlanc.  By day (and let’s face it, most of the night) I am a mild-mannered Publicity Assistant and freelance Photographer. I live in Toronto with a bastard cat and a few people and enjoy things like Star Trek, boxing, comics and a wide-range of music from 1920s Hot String Jazz to a bunch of Angry Japanese men screaming while banging things.

But that’s not important to this blog, totally.  The big thing is that I really like beer. It wasn’t always this way.  Many years ago I loved wine and was getting to be quite a snob about it.  But then someone gave me a Trappist beer and it all just spiraled out of control.  I picked up some books, talked to some brewers and other beer bloggers, even started making my OWN beer and I found that I was really getting passionate about it.  I figured that I should set up a blog to dump the stuff that I’ve learned in the past as well as what I continue to learn (the beer world really is a deep rabbit hole of wonder).  So here I am.

I live in Ontario, Canada, which has incredibly stupid laws regarding beer and is sort of going through an interesting phase, as people are realizing that there is more to beer than lagers and cream ale.  Small breweries are popping up all over the place and getting a little wild and experimental.  For you Yankees out there, here’s some perspective:  I’ve been told by about twenty people, brewers, bloggers and pub owners alike, that Ontario, if not all of Canada, right now is going through the same thing that the US did with craft beer in 1985-1990.  Needless to say, it’s interesting being on the ground floor when all this is going on and the next five years here are going to be pretty damn interesting.

And oh, yes.  I’m a woman.  If you think that’s weird at all I suggest you look up some of the history of beer and see who primarily made it.  Also stay tuned as I plan on talking a bit in a post about women in the beer industry.

So, yes.  If you want to read me learning about beer and letting out what I know without getting industry gossip heavy (“My GOD, did you HEAR what Joel said about the grain mills he goes to? GASP! And the seasonal Doppelbock is only two weeks away! SCANDAL!” Ugh), then this is the place for you.  My posting is slightly erratic, but I’m trying my best to bang a post out at least once a week.

If you’re new to this site and don’t know where to begin, I suggest the Gateway Beers category and then go on exploring from there.

Also, if you like what I do and would like to help, please consider making a donation at the Tip Jar, as beer costs money and I don’t make too much.

Some other info:

My e-mail: robin@therobinleblanc.com

Twitter: @TheThirstyWench (links to new posts on this site)

Personal Twitter: @oldhat (BEWARE: I talk a lot of nonsense.)

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Birthday Wish: GRANTED

So remember when I put the Brooklyn Box Set from the Brooklyn Brewery on my Wish List?

Welp, for my Birthday I got it.

HUGE thanks to my parents for purchasing it, Melissa “Glukkake” Dowell for picking it up at the Brooklyn Brewery’s store and to the wonderful fella Alan Tyson for picking it up and driving all the way to Toronto to hand it off and celebrate the day I emerged from another human screaming, naked and covered in blood 27 years ago.

While I’m going to TRY and save the Companion Ale for a special occasion, I can say that the book is quite amazing and very detailed.  I love that so many experts put their experience in to this and can’t wait to actually learn more about this stuff so I can gain a deeper understanding in to the world that I love and…okay, so I can repeat it at parties.  YOU CAUGHT ME.

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Filed under Beer Products, Wish List

After These Messages…

More posts soon to come, folks.  It’s just been a really busy few weeks followed by my Birthday this sunday.

So until then, enjoy this BEAUTIFUL picture by Emmanuel “Mojokingbee” Hernaez of me defending my precious ales from an evil Kraken.  Click image to embiggen.

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