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Lucy Saunders
4230 N. Oakland #178
Shorewood WI
53211 USA
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Gifts for the beer-lover (a longer version of this article appeared in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

Sure, there's an easy gift for every beer-lover you know.

It's called, "beer."

An assortment of favorite brews, or seasonal winter warmers and wassail ales makes an appreciated gift. Pack a selection of single bottles in a bucket, filled with roasted peanuts in the shells to keep the bottles stable, and prevent the glass from breaking. Some retailers even offer pre-packaged gift assortments from around the world. Just add a card!

Wisconsin Brewers on the Map
A Taster's Guide to Wisconsin, a colorful map printed just last month, highlights destinations for local flavor. With help from the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board and the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, the small Wisconsin Brewers Guild and Wisconsin Winery Association, put together a map to pleasurable points of interest. Dotted with symbols of cheese wheels, pints and stem glasses, the map helpspeople find the bounty of our state's world-class cheeses, craft breweries and award-winning wineries. Listings on the back of the map include phone numbers and addresses.

What makes the map especially useful is information about tours and tastings. Tourism and visitation is increasingly important to craft brewers. In Milwaukee, Lakefront Brewery has now offers weekday tours, the Milwaukee Ale House offers beer education seminars, and in Glendale, Sprecher Brewery attracts more than 20,000 visitors each year.

"We offer special events, tastings and tours," says Randy Sprecher, owner of Sprecher Brewing Co. "And with our expanded gift shop, we get visitors all the time." Be sure to call ahead to verify tour information, as some retail outlets shorten hours, or close shop, for the winter. Several area breweries sell the map for $1.50, but you can get a single copy free by sending a self-addressed, stamped #10 size envelope to Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board-MJS, PO Box 1012, LaCrosse, Wisconsin 54602.

A stylish option for beer styles
The problem with most beer t-shirts? They're branded with just a single beer's name. Now a true beer lover has a choice that reflects the world of beer: The Beeriodic Table T-Shirt. The front side of the "The Beeriodic Table" shows the alcohol by volume and original gravity for the most popular beer styles, and the back shows a chart of beer styles by name. Order the shirt online at brewingnews.com. Other beer-themed T-shirts may be found at the Grand Avenue Mall's Brew City, 275 W. Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI (414) 347-1811.

Be bold, be brave, go buy the book
Premium Beer Drinker's Guide: The World's Strongest, Boldest and Most Unusual Beers
by Stephen Beaumont
Firefly Books $24.95
Paperback 224 pages / 7" x 10"
full color illustrations throughout, glossary, index, sources, quick reference charts
Author Stephen Beaumont goes for the proverbial gusto: the biggest, boldest, strongest, most expensive and most interesting beers in the world. No pallid amber ales or spineless yellow lagers in these pages! More than thirty beer styles are described in detail and hundreds of recommendations given. The author's goal is to get beer drinkers out of the comfort zone of mainstream brews, and try a beer that's drinkable but different. Seasonal examples include the Winter Welcome ale brewed by Samuel Smith, Tadcaster, UK; Old Crustacean from Rogue Brewery of Oregon, and Bigfoot Barleywine from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., CA. It's a fun, colorful read, spiked with Beaumont's entertaining rants about beer.

And in the category of glossy, colorful beer books, the paperback edition of Michael Jackson's Great Beer Guide has just been released by DK Publishing at a more affordable $16.95. Both books are available online at amazon.com.

www.beercook.com, Copyright © 2012-2002, by Lucy Saunders. All rights reserved. Note copyright of authors and recipe contributors in bylines and prefaces. Fee required for reprints in any commercial media.

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