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  • Christmas Beer Gift Packs

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    December 23rd, 2009FletchtheMonkeyBeer Reviews, Comment

    Christmas Beer Gift Packs

    Purity Ale gift pack

    Purity Ale gift pack

    Christmas is not much more than 24 hours away and you haven’t finished all your shopping. There’s always at least one thing that’s slipped your mind, one extra gift to buy, a mad dash to the shops or the supermarket to ensure you’ve bought enough for that special person.
    And for the beer lovers in your life? What better than a fancy gift pack of a beer they haven’t tried with a fancy glass. Or even if they have tried it, it’s the thought that counts, eh?!
    We’ve compiled a selection of some of the Christmas Beer Gift Packs we’ve come across on our travels – some we’ve bought, some we’ve snapped on shop shelves and some have been pointed in our direction by breweries or PR companies.
    If you need a last minute beery gift some will be easier to find than others. Hopefully there’s a bit of something for a variety of different beer drinkers!
    Merry Christmas!

    WARNING: these gift suggestions are not (I repeat not!) suitable for your beer widow!!!

    Purity Ale

    First up is Purity Ale’s gift pack which isn’t necessarily a Christmas gift pack. But it is well presented with a fantastically versatile glass and three very good beers, Pure UbuPure Gold and Mad Goose.

    Purity's excellent glass

    Purity's excellent glass

    You essentially have a pale, light and amber beer here, all highly drinkable. The Purity branding makes this a really nice gift to wrap up and I doubt you’ll find many complaining about the beer. Mad Goose is popular favourite, a 5% copper ale, but I always find myself drawn back to the mysterious and playful Pure Ubu, a spicy, malty ale that would work equally well on a summer’s evening as it would on Christmas Eve. This is our pick of the lot!

    St Peter’s Brewery

    With four gift packs to choose from (Golden, G-Free, Organic and Seasonal) you have a little bit of choice from St Peter’s Brewery, each gift pack coming with 2 beers and the magnificent St Peter’s glass, a tall and contemporary piece of glassware you can proudly show off. As it’s Christmas we opted for the Seasonal Pack featuring St Peter’s Ruby Red and Winter Ale.

    St Peter's Winter Gift Pack

    St Peter's Winter Gift Pack

    I like St Peters, I’ve heard them called bland in the past, but if you are buying for a seasoned ale drinker I don’t think you can do much wrong here. The Ruby Red is a really nice spicy affair and perfect for the time of year, whilst the Winter ale is a darker ruby winter warmer, almost mahogany in colour with a more chocolately taste. Both fit the bill for Christmas and look pretty stunning in the glass.

    A gift pack was £8 in a shop in York or you can buy 3 for £20 (+p&p) from the St Peter’s website. What we like about these is the variety and the ability to cater for a gluten-free diet or the organically minded. For under a tenner its well presented if a bit pricey for 2 beers.

    Milestone Brewery

    Sam with Milestone brewerys gift pack

    Sam with Milestone brewerys gift pack

    We came across the Milestone Brewery stall at Lincoln Christmas Market and we’ve immediately attracted to the fun looking reindeer inspired beers. With cheesy names and even more embarassing artwork they are the epitome of what I often look to avoid in Christmas beer.

    But Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without them so I shrugged off my bah humbags and snapped away as Sam picked up on of their gift packs. Each contained a seemingly random selection of 3 of their Christmas bveers, all named after one of Santa’s twelve reindeer (we’re being deadly serious!)

    Sam tells me the first beer  of the pack he cracked open wasn’t much good, hopefully the other two are better. I’m still intrigued to find out what the larger Donner & Blitzen Christmas Cracker beer which came in a 750ml bottle with swing top.

    Innis & Gunn

    Now for something a bit more daring. Innis & Gunne is a beer that divides the Real Ale Reviews team. I can’t really get on with it, I’m no whiskey drinker, but Sam loves this as a nightcap and reveres the distinctive taste. Their gift pack is good value for money: 3 bottles and a glass for £8 (in Sainsbury’s if you’re lucky) and includes their renowned Innis & Gunne Whiskey Aged Beer, a new Rum Cask Finish Oak Aged Beer and their IPA. The glass is a looker and rounds the pack off nicely.

    Innis & Gunne IPA gift set

    Innis & Gunne IPA gift set

    The rum and whiskey aged beers will satisfy fans of I&G, but I’ve been told by two people that the IPA didn’t live up to expectations – I’ll not comment until I get a taste from Sam. The gift packs drawback is presentation, it’s not the nicest of boxes to unwrap and lacks the premium quality of the Purity and St Peter’s packs from the outside. That said your beer tokens stretch a bit further with this and if you get it right it’ll go down very well indeed. A bit of a risk if you don’t know your beer loving friends tastes but if they like their whiskey and their ale, this could be a winner.

    CAMRA ale packs

    Boots are selling a CAMRA bottle conditioned box set featuring 3 ales and a CAMRA pint glass. I have to admit to having only tried the Consiton Bluebird of the three bottles, which is a decent enough bitter. We like that there’s a stout in there and but it’s not the most compelling selection of beers in the world. I’d recommend this for a drinker who’s a bottle conditioned aficionado, but if you’re want to make an impact with your gift, something like the Purity will have much more appeal. At £15 it’s the most expensive of the packs as well which doesn’t represent the greatest value for money – although it is in Boot’s 3 for 2 Christmas gift section…

    If you do want to support CAMRA but don’t have anything else to buy from Boots I’d head over to BHS who are doing a 4 pack of award winning CAMRA ales for just £7.50. That’s less than £2 a bottle including the O’Hanlon’s stout, Sharp’s Doom Bar, Fuller’s Special London Ale and Ale Mary (the RCH ale not the Leeds Brewery one).

    Hook Norton gift packs

    Hook Norton gift packs

    Hook Norton Brewery

    I’ll be hopefully heading over to Hook Norton brewery over Christmas and I whilst I’ll probably stock up on seasonal ales I might grab a couple of gift packs as presents. 12 Days makes an appropriate seasonal gift whilst you can’t go wrong with buying anyone Old Hooky or Hooky Bitter. They also do polypins, tankards and a Christmas hamper complete with a few bottles of Hooky Twelve Days (although that’s a bit pricier!).

    Black Sheep

    Black Sheep have two gift packs that are worth a look, each with 2 beers and another pretty stunning glass. You can choose between Black Sheep Ale or Riggwelter, a sweet chestnut ale with hints of liquorice and coffee beans. Very good value at about £7.50 each. Apparently this was spotted in Boots but I can only find it from the brewery now. Keep your eyes peeled as a real treat for a fan!

    Williams Brothers heritage ales gift pack

    Williams Brothers heritage ales gift pack

    Williams Brothers Heritage Ales

    Williams have provided some of my favourite beers this year including their Birds & Bees and 80/- shilling ale. Their historic beer range (of which I’ve tried only seasweed ale Kelpie so far) is available from £6.95 from their Williams online shop and from £8.99  from the Green Welly Stop. A bit late for Christmas we know so if you do see them in any shops I’d take the gamble on these. From what I’ve heard Alba is great and they all sounds exciting to try. For an adventurous beer drinker give it a go!

    House of Fraser

    There’s a few options at House of Fraser from the fancy looking Carlow gift pack at just over a tenner. I can’t say I know a lot about this Irish brewer or the beers but it looks good and could be a last minute life saver. TheBeerNut stepped in to fill the gap in my knowledge and says Carlow are “stalwarts of Irish craft brewing. The stout’s great, the red’s decent and the wheat beer is pants.” (Apparently all very good on cask and much cheaper over the Irish Sea too). And when TheBeerNut speaks I listen!

    House of Fraser also have a nice looking La Trappe beer gift pack with a beautiful glass and a Hogsback ‘Three for all’ gift pack featuring their three staple ales.

    Carlow Brewery gift pack at House of Fraser

    Carlow Brewery gift pack at House of Fraser

    Hogsback Brewery gift pack

    Hogsback Brewery gift pack

    La Trappe beer gift pack

    La Trappe beer gift pack

    Broughton Ales @ John Lewis

    The tasty Broughton ale gift pack of two beers and a nice snifter style glass are £12 at John Lewis but I can’t vouch for it having nice Christmasy gifty packaging unfortunately.

    Broughton Organic beer gift pack

    Broughton Organic beer gift pack

    M&S beer gift pack

    M&S beer gift pack

    Marks & Spencers

    For those of you who are mesmerised by ‘those adverts’ and are crossing the threshold into M&S Simply Food this year, then check out their great new beer range plus this tasty little sampler of continental beers. If you’re buying for someone who’s tastes are  a little more yellow fizz than real ale (not that we don’t treat ourselves once in a while) then this beer gift pack could be a very good pack with a few nice bottles (the Italian beer is brilliant ice cold from the fridge) and a pilsner glass to boot. Yes, the branding is all rip offs of more established European beers but don’t let that stop you!

    Sainsbury’s

    Sainsbury’s have a few Guinness packs, a Leffe glass and bottle set and an Old Speckled Hen gift – not hugely remarkable but good if you know a big fan of those beers. They also have a limited edition Christmas ale in a tubular gift box (yeah it’s a bit tacky) but most interesting they’re selling a Cobra beer gift pack complete with beer, glass and a Cobra Good Curry Guide book. All well under a 10 English squids.

    Cobra beer gift pack complete with glass and curry guide book at Sainsbury's

    Cobra beer gift pack complete with glass and curry guide book at Sainsbury's

    Sainsbury's limited edition Christmas Ale - is £4 too much when so many quality beers are cheaper?

    Sainsbury's Christmas Ale - is £4 too much when so many quality beers are cheaper?

    Thanks to Purity Ale and their PR company, Nicky at R&R and Innis & Gunne, the helpful people at all the shops in York, Lincoln Christmas Market and all the other places we hunted for Christmas beer packs.

    FletchtheMonkey

    Mark is better known as @fletchthemonkey and started writing about beer in 2009. When not content with spending all day on the internet working in digital for an multichannel retailer, Mark waxes lyrical at digitalmediamonkey.co.uk and types up match reports for Leeds Guide magazine.

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