My Kind of Beer with Chris Goddard
Buying gifts isn’t easy. Sure buying things and stuff for someone isn’t hard but a real honest-to-goodness gift is a hard one to come by. I have, on the rarest of occasion, stumbled upon the right gift at the right time but that is like catching a unicorn and teaching it to recite a monologue from Richard III. Gifts are also mostly just more things — and more things aren’t always what we need in this world. Instead I have decided in recent years to seek out unique experiences for people to enjoy — and a lot of those revolve around beer.
SOBEYS “FILL IT YOURSELF” BEER ADVENT CALENDAR
Who doesn’t think fondly back on the days of yesteryear when you woke up every morning and scarfed down a small, crappy chocolate from your advent calendar? I have been waiting for someone to do a beer version in Ontario since the dawn of time. Other provinces have enjoyed beautiful beer advent calendars for years but unless you really DIY’d it there wasn’t an off-the-shelf option for folks … until now. For a trifling $5.99 (plus 24 beers) you can march down to your local Sobeys and pack together your own advent calendar and relive the excitement of your youth (minus the beer drinking). I just wouldn’t suggest drinking your beers in the morning while your kids eat their chocolate.
BEER OF THE MONTH CLUBS
There are a number of clubs out there to choose from — more than you might think actually (AmazingClubs.ca, TheBrewBox.co, CanadaCraftClub.ca, BeerClub.ca, SavvyCompany.ca). Most offer a range of Ontario craft beers throughout the year with a couple offering some international variety to the mix. If your special someone is well read when it comes to the Ontario scene I would suggest getting the CanadaCraftClub.ca package as they boast some worldly fare and brands that we can’t find easily here in Ontario. Whichever company you select I would opt for a shorter term package just to make sure the mix of beers are to their liking before you take the plunge into a year long subscription.
OLD TORONTO BEER TOUR
Ever wanted to spend the day visiting breweries, drinking beer and learning about beer’s history here in Toronto? Of course you have! This entertaining guided tour is a full day of brewery tours, beer samples and history — you can even tack on a Beer Lovers Dinner at the Granite Brewery at the end of the day. If a full day is too much they have a walking Beer & Chocolate Tour and a Rails & Ales tour that may fit the bill better. And for those that are looking for a truly unique international experience they also host beer tours to Iceland, Mexico and Germany. Full disclosure — I sometimes host the Beer Lovers Tour when Oliver is out of town and they are a total blasts. www.beerloverstour.com
STEAM WHISTLE WALL MOUNTED OPENER
If you don’t have one of these beauties around the house already you really must get one! The wall mounted opener is more than just a bottle opener — it also catches the caps as they fall from your freshly opened beer! It easily mounts to your “bar” wall and if using a screwdriver isn’t your thing it’s also magnetic so you can just slap it on the old beer fridge if you like. Buy it directly from SteamWhistle.ca or visit your local LCBO to find one.