What the Professor Doesn’t Want for Christmas

The Professor can only guess what someone who likes beer may not want. Here are a few beer based gifts that you may want to avoid, with comments. Not in any specific order because only you know who you are giving to, or should know them.

1. BrewMaster: The Craft Beer Game. Not a bad concept, but a poorly executed board game. You win by getting the most trophies and crowd markers. How many trophies you win as a brewer really doesn’t keep a brewpub open and many owners don’t care: it’s often all about the crowds, profit and the owner’s taste; as misguided as that last one may or may not be. The ale yeast card is good only to brew some style called “ale.” “Ale” is really just a matter of what yeast is used for the most part and what temps the brew is fermented/stored at. Stout is an ale. Porter is an ale. But you often can’t use the ale yeast on it. Belgian beers don’t always require two yeasts. For a game that bills itself as educational it might be: for those who wish to belong to some Flat Earth-like beer cult that avoids facts.

2. Belching beer pager. With a click of the remote, your ice cold beer holder burps loudly and lights up as far as 60 feet away. If you lose your beer enough that you think you have to spend money on this: stop drinking! You have a problem. Please get some help!

Now as a joke? Maybe it might work.

3. Beerfest the movie (DVD, or if you’re really into insult, for the tech savvy, give them VHS.) There are funny moments, but this movie would be an insult to those who are serious about beer. It’s like giving A Mighty Wind to a big fan of of folk music; a movie that paints all folk artists as talentless fakes and frauds. Beerfest teaches nothing except beer lovers all love to drink to excess and that’s what beer is all about. Not only untrue, but mindlessly insulting. Whomever wrote this knows either little about beer, beer culture and just how technical brewing is as an occupation or even a hobby, or was more interested in making money than being honest.

4. Budweiser, Miller, Coors: any light, American, big brewery beer. It’s like giving Boone Hill or most Manischewitz to a fine wine connoisseur. Heineken may be out too, since they have been known to use formaldehyde. Want to be even more insulting? Anything labeled “Lite,” or “Light,” or “low carb” may be a sure bet. Be careful with non-alcohol beers too. There are few worth drinking. Best to ask, even if it spoils the surprise.

5. Beer goggles. You still have the wrong idea. It’s all about sipping and savoring, not watching a game or TV.

6. Any lager that has been stored for a long, long time or exposed to temperature extremes or sunlight. Higher abv lagers may be an exception, but as a general rule high alcohol ales store well in proper temps and conditions: lagers less so. They really don’t improve much (if at all) with age compared with higher abv ales like Barley Wines, Russian Imperials or Strong Scotch Ales, just to provide three examples. Beer in green or clear bottles usually go bad quicker than brown bottled beer.

Now if you hate the person you’re giving the beer to, skunky beer might be more appropriate if you never want to hear from them again: and don’t fear the possibility of revenge.

7. Anything to do with rednecks and beer jokes. (Apologies to our cartoonist, Namraknec. At least those are based on home brewing. Most redneck beer jokes have to do with quantity of drinking; beer just being along for the ride.)

8. A two for the price of one counseling session for the addicted. If you do, expect a “special” gift next year. Call the bomb squad in advance, just to be safe.