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Need a beer? There’s an app for that

Craft Beer New York appThere are so many beer-related apps out there we would not presume to tell you what to download.

However, we do have a favorite at Real Beer HQ — that’s the Beer Cost Calculator, available for the Droid. The the Six Pack Equivalent instantly compares the price of any size bottle to that of a six-pack, making you a smarter beer buyer.

To play fair, we’ve got an i-option for you as well. That’s the new Craft Beer New York app curated by Brooklyn-based beer writer and Brewed Awakening author Josh Bernstein.

Find more choices at Google Play or iTunes.

‘Tis the season

Deschutes Jubelale Christas Display

The Deschutes Brewery posted this photo, taken in a Portland grocery store, on its Facebook page Nov. 2.

We had two thoughts: a) drink some Jubelale, and b) time to start working on our Christmas Wish List.

“Real Beer for the Holidays” is officially open for 2012 business.

Beer Can Xmas Tree

400 cans = one Christmas tree

Who: Percy Street Barbecue, one of Philadelphia’s top spots for barbecue, serving a straightforward selection of slowly smoked meats and homey side dishes canned beers and cocktails (900 South Street in Philadelphia, 215-625-8510).

What: “Beer Can Xmas Tree” featuring over 400 beer cans. This 8-foot tree took General Manager Aric Ferrell and Desiree Howie, a staff member and local artist, over 12 hours to assemble.

Why: Spreading Canned Christmas Cheer. Percy Street carries over 60 varieties of canned beer (click here for beer list). Most of the cans used on the tree are from Percy Street’s Six Pack Program, where guests select five beers and the sixth can is on the house. The beers are served in custom galvanized steel buckets (see the top of the tree.)

How to be a ‘good elf’

Some proper tips from UK brewer Daniel Thwaites, which created a beer called “Good Elf” for the holiday . . .

A press release in 2009 describes it: “mahogany coloured beer has big, rich overtones of nuttiness, balanced with a light fruit flavour and delicate hop aroma – a festive twist to the traditional toast between family and friends.”

Meanwhile the brewery’s tips for how to be a good elf (we left the British spelling intact):

1. The first step to being a good elf is to acquire the appropriate attire. Anyone can find these special garments during the Christmas season. You will know the perfect pieces when you see them. They will catch your eye and you will find yourself smiling as you look at them and feel good when you picture yourself wearing them.

2. The best elf costumes always have a few small bells sewn into the design. Bells should always be small and only leave just a slight sound as you perform your secret good elf deeds. Bells placed in just the right spots will make a sound but make it hard for people to detect exactly where the sound is coming from!

3. The very best of elves are full of mystery. They secretly perform good deeds and hardly ever get caught! They work in the full light of day and also under the cover of night. The more good things you can get away with in secret, the higher the rank you will earn among the other elves. If you are really good and lucky at not getting caught doing good deeds you could become a fully fledged Santa’s Helper!

4. Santa’s Helper elves are good at recruiting new elves and teaching them their tricks. They change the world for the better by increasing the actual volume of good deeds being preformed everywhere! They make it a Christmas ritual to add fun and magic to the lives of others and many of them carry the spirit in their heart throughout the entire year, performing good deeds every single day.

5. Santa’s Helper elves are very special and do great deeds. They are experienced in keeping secrets and excellent at covering their tracks. It really is the highest honour!

Daniel Thwaites has operated as a family-run brewery since 1807.

Shmaltz launches photo contest

Shmaltz menorah winnerShmaltz Brewing has launched the 2nd Annual “Build Your Own Beer Menorah” photo contest with the limited-edition release of the HE’BREW Holiday Gift Pack featuring eight prized Shmaltz creations (Chanukah candles and Beer Menorah instructions are included in each Gift Pack).

Shmatz invites entrants to send images to Winning photos will be posted on Shmaltz’s Facebook page following the final night of Chanukah 2011.

In honor of its 15th year of brewing, Shmaltz is releasing three Limited-Edition Extreme Offerings, including Genesis 15:15® (13.4% ABV), the HE’BREW Holiday Gift Pack featuring eight prized Shmaltz creations, and Jewbelation 15 (15 malts, 15 hops, 15% ABV). Shmaltz proprietor Jeremy Cowan’s debut small business memoir, Craft Beer Bar Mitzvah, is also now available at bookstores nationwide.