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Buying Beer as a Gift

I'd like to buy some beer as a gift for a friend who has volunteered to spend the upcoming weekend working on a construction project. My thought is to get a couple of extremely delicious, possibly local, varieties. What I'm going for is something indulgent, after all his hard work and also something a little obscure, so it would be like a mini-tasting (gulping?) of some makers he might not already have tried.

I'm sure some beer-drinking hounds must be able to chime in with suggestions for products that might fit the bill. (Maybe the kinds of bottled/canned beer you'd want if you were selflessly laboring in the sweltering heat?) Also, is there a liquor store that has a particularly strong selection of beer? I'd like to make this one-stop shopping.

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  1. If you want to keep it to local varieties, I would stick with offerings from Smuttynose and Berkshire Brewing Co. What are his favorite styles? There are many out there. I would suggest going out to Juliio's in Westboro. They have an amazing selection and the beer manager can help guide you through the many offerings. If you want to stick to someplace in the Boston area, I would suggest Wine Gallery on Route 9. Ask for Kai (beer manager). Also, a great place to start some research is BeerAdvocate Good luck!

    www.beeradvocate.com

    1. I drink a lot of beer (hey, someone has to do it) and make my own batches, so I've tried a lot of what is out there. Some local ones (or regional) that really stand out, IMO, are:

      Otter Creek Stovepipe Porter
      Hennepin Ale
      Ipswich Ale
      Harpoon UFO
      Tuckerman Headwall Alt

      And two that are not local, but always satisfy greatly, are Samuel Smith Pale Ale and Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout.

      Two places that I go to that have great beer selections are Mall Liquors in Cambridge (Fresh Pond) and Andover Liquors in Andover.

      1. I would look into some Begian style beer. They seem to fly out of our fridge when we have company. Also Trader Joe's has knowledgable beer staff at the Coolidge Corner location plus you can expect to pay less there.

        5 Replies
        1. re: ginnyhw

          I think dogfish IPA ice cold will do just fine.

          1. re: OLDCHEF

            i second that. go for the 90 minute. the 120 minute is a bit much. 60 minute is good but the 90 minute is just remarkable.

            1. re: cambridgeMike

              The 90 minute isn't exactly a cool, refreshing beer that might be enjoyed after a hard day of labor. For that, I'd recommend the 60 minute. 90 minute is best enjoyed slowly.

              1. re: JoeM

                Depending on how grateful the OP is, maybe a six pack of each?
                I agree that Downtown liquors in Davis sq is great for their beer selection.

                1. re: Bluebell

                  Nitpick- It would be a 6 pack of 60 and 4 pack of 90. Total damage should be about $17+/- $2.

        2. Davis Square Liquors has an outstanding selection of beers. Their staff is quite knowledgeable and will be able to direct you to the appropriate selection.

          Another idea is to take your friend to Publik House in Brookline for a few rounds.

          2 Replies
          1. re: gini

            Do you mean Downtown Liquors in Davis Square or is there another beer store I need to check out (he says hopefully)?

            1. re: DavisSquare

              Sorry DavisSquare, that's the one I'm talking about. I also really like the owner of Ball Square Liquors. If you are at all into Greek wine, this is your store.

          2. One problem is that some of the "best," most expensive beers are acquired tastes. They tend to be high in alcohol, high in calories, and/or not like beer at all. Davis Square Liquor has some bottles for $30 that your friend could absolutely abhor. A couple of days ago I drank a bottle of A Le Coq imperial stout. The best way I can think to describe the flavors is as a combination of worcestershire sauce and aged balsamic vinegar.

            Nonetheless, I will list some beers that are easy to like yet special: Duvel, Orval, Celebrator, many hefeweizens (e.g., Paulaner, Weihenstephaner), and some IPAs (Smuttynose is a fine local choice). Throw in a bottle of Rochefort 10 if you want to add something prestigious but possibly inaccessible. For a "dessert beer," Lindeman's Framboise is delicious and easy to find.

            You can get most or all of these beers at Wine and Cheese Cask in Somerville, Davis Square Liquors in Davis Square, or Marty's in Allston.

            7 Replies
            1. re: aventinus

              Excellent point... perhaps if you let us know which beer(s) he usually drinks you'll get the most useful suggestions.

              I'd add Allagash White to aventinus's list and maybe subtract the IPA suggestion (I love IPAs but many of my friends do not).

              1. re: po_boy

                if you can find the Anderson Valley Boont (not local) I would suggest trying it. I found it at the Wine and Cheese Cask, but I have a feeling that they may not carry it anymore. Long Trail also has a few good selections.

                1. re: lennyb

                  I love Anderson Valley beers. They sell a couple of different kinds at Marty's Liquor in Newton on Washington Street. I believe they also have the Boont. The seasonal one right now is the Summer Solstice. It's a bit sweet, but I love it!

                  1. re: beerbelly

                    Also, available at the Wine Gallerys both Fenway and Brookline, the later is having a tasting tonight which involves Anderson Valley I believe.

                2. re: po_boy

                  I agree that white beers are a good call and IPAs are more questionable (I would still include one in a beer basket I got for someone). Allagash white is fine and very difficult to dislike. I prefer Southampton double white, which is available at Davis Square Liquors.

                  1. re: po_boy

                    This is not my area of expertise, but DH prefers IPAs and I am more apt to choose a Pilsner type. We both enjoy Otter Creek Copper Ale. The case box has a very nice line drawing of Otter Creek in Vermont, so it looks like a gift. I have given it as a gift before, and it has always been appreciated!

                    Perhaps something thirst quenching to enjoy after the work is done and a case to take home?

                    1. re: chowfamily

                      Just saw your rec for Otter Creek Copper Ale, big-time yup! This is also my favorite Vt. brew, period. A session ale that is always in my fridge in Vt. As good as it is in bottle, you should seek it out on tap. The closest in taste and style I've found to the OC is Casco Bay's Rip-tide Red, It's my go-to brew whenever I'm is The State-O-Maine. It's a lot tougher to find in Ma. than OC. Julio's in Westboro is the closest place to me, in Wayland, that I know of.