Portable breathalyzer

Beer Alcohol CalculatorNot to throw a wet blanket on your holiday cheer, but it doesn’t hurt to be careful about your blood alcohol level when you are having a few beers.

The portable breathalyzer pictured here is sold at Amazon. It makes checking very easy, which is part of the point, as in a one button operation. But we don’t care what brand you buy — a quick Google search provides plenty of option.

It is not as precise, but you can get an idea of what your BAC might be by using this online calculator.

Northwest beer gear

Kootenai River Brewing Stainless Steel Keg GrowlerSPONSORED POST

Give them what they really want, give the gift of beer gear. www.CraftBrewSwag.com is your exclusive online retailer of quality craft beer merchandise from some of the Inland Northwest’s best breweries. Featuring T-shirts, hoodies, hats, and growlers you are sure to find the perfect gift for the craft beer nerd on your list.

‘So you want to start a brewery?’

Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Gay Talese once said, “The problem is that when you are writing nonfiction you have to place yourself into a category or else Barnes & Noble doesn’t know where to shelves you book.”

Most B&N stores devote only a shelf to beer-related books, so there won’t be much decision making about where to put “So You Want to Start a Brewery.” (At Powell’s in Portland, Oregon, which has a great collection of beer books it gets a little tougher.) But the fact is it fits as comfortably on a shelf with books intended to guide entrepreneurs or with biographies. It is not the only book a person would need to own before starting a brewery, but it is full of useful advice. It makes equally as good a gift for a beer fan, and particularly a Lagunitas beer fan.

Perhaps it is best to simply quote a few of the recommendations from the back cover:

“All brewers think they can write, but Tony brings his unique and entertaining beer story to life in such a funny, breezy, yet thoughtful way that reading it feels like you’re having one of his IPA’s with Hemingway and Gore Vidal in a Key West bar. I read it cover to cover in one sitting and found myself laughing out loud throughout.” — Harry Schuhmacher, publisher, Beer Business Daily

“Unconventional brands come from unconventional people. Drawing from music and literature, Tony Magee sees the world in a way that most completely miss. He has poured his heart and soul into Lagunitas and we are all richer for it.” — Keith Greggor, co-owner & CEO, Anchor Brewing Company

“Tony is one of the most unique characters in all of craftdom, rising fast to become one of the top US craft brewers in recent years. He’s wicked smart and has a way with words; here’s his story told in his own inimitable fashion.” — Benj Steinman, Beer Marketer’s Insights

Genesee builds keg Christmas tree

Genesee keg Christmas treeGenessee Brewing in Rochester, N.Y., has used 300 kegs to build its own version of a Christmas tree outside it brewhouse, trimmed with with 600 feet of LED green rope lights, and topped it with a rotating Genesee sign. The tree is 23 feet tall.

“It’s been great fun,” Michael Gaesser, Genesee’s director of packaging innovation, said at a press briefing. “As soon as you turn it on, people start taking pictures. Everyone thinks it’s cool and the whole company rallied around it.”

The tree was erected on a 16 x 16 wooden base and between the 10 layers of kegs is a plywood platform. The kegs are tied together with a cable system. When disassembled, the parts will go into storage for next year.

And the kegs? “The kegs will go back into the production flow and go right back out with beer in them,” Gaesser said.

An official public lighting ceremony is set for Thursday.