I was the recipient of several great beer gifts this year. What a wonderful surprise Christmas morning to see that my wife, er, uh, Santa filled my stocking with Bell's HopSlam! Meanwhile, Mark, my soon-to-be brother-in-law, hooked me up with a subscription to the new Beer Advocate magazine, our friends Amanda and Benjamin gave me a bottle of North Coast's Brother Thelonious, and my in-laws presented me a bottle of Unibroue's Trader Joe's 2006 Vintage Ale.
The days off work gave me plenty of excuses to sample craft beer, too. The staple this year was the Santa's Private Reserve from Rogue, although I also had occasion to try the Redhook Late Harvest Ale. Christmas morning meant popping open a bottle of the Founders Breakfast Stout, which actually may be the perfect breakfast beer. I finally had an opportunity to sit down with some of the North Carolina brews that Ben from SevenPack.net hooked me up with (look for a full report, with reviews, coming very soon). And to end it all, I topped the four-day weekend off with a 2005 Brooklyn Brewery Monster Ale barleywine last night.
UPDATE: I saw my brother and sister-in-law last night (we missed Christmas with the fam because our youngest is sick) and they gave me more beer-related presents. Eric apparently is in good with a distributor, because he got a heck of a deal. Gifts from them include a "Draft Beer Not People" T-shirt, a frosted UConn pilsner glass (Eric is getting his masters there), a variety twelve-pack of Thomas Hooker beers (includes Blonde, APA, Octoberfest, and Irish Red), a bottle of Unibroue 15, a bottle of Chimay Blue, a bottle of McChouffe, a bottle of Allagash Tripel, and a bottle of Jacobsen Dark Lager. And, they saved me a couple of additional bottles of HopSlam, which the family consumed on Christmas. A Hoppy Christmas!