Shopping at a brewery beats the mall every time

Mother's Brewing Company beanieDon’t overlook how excellent the shopping can be in brewery and brewpub gift stores.

You might pick up a present for a fan of a far away brewery in its online store, but there’s much to be said for shopping local and in person. We’re thinking today about wearables — thus the beanie from Mother’s Brewing in Springfield, Mo. — but you never know what you might came across in a brewery store. From mustard made with the brewery’s beer bottle cap earrings.

And as long as you’ve taken the time to visit the brewery … well, you know the rest.

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Beercandy: no ABV, but plenty of IBU

Beercandy - beercandy.comIn case you were wondering, the Hopdrops from Beercandy really do smell and taste like Cascade hops.

That seems important to us at Real Beer. We’ve already got plenty of candy, most particularly chocolate, to pair with beer. These stand alone. Not surprisingly, no Beercandy products contain a measurable amount of alcohol. Yet they still taste of beer, though some more than others.

Beercandy offers three basic choices: an assortment of caramels; BeerTaffy in stout and IPA flavors; and the HopDrops, hard candies flavored with Cascade hop oil and bittered with iso-alpha acids.

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Get that hoppy clean feeling

Beer soapThey’ve got beer soap at Think Geek (the one pictured here). They’ve got beer soap at Amazon. They’ve got beer soap at our local brewery. They’ve got beer soap in the online store of you favorite not-so-close to home brewery.

Each will vary, so we’ll pass along the Think Geek description:

- Hoppy and practically edible soap that smells like beer
- Made with all-natural, vegan ingredients
- Smells like beer fresh from the tap – yum!
- Can be used to wash body or even hair
- Great for people with sensitive skin or allergies to commercial soaps
- Each individually wrapped bar is 3″ across x 1″ tall and 4.5 ounces

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Don’t leave home without beer

Beer toteTraveling with beer can present particular challenges, whether you are hauling a six-pack across town or flying some distance.

We’ve found that a traditional six-pack carrier works well for short trips. You might consider the tote pictured here a bit much, but it can be a good present and offers extra protection and insulation. It also works to throw in your luggage.

Special packaging (look for something called “bottle armor) also makes an excellent present for a beer drinking travelers. A cheaper alternative (maybe for yourself) is to use bubble wrap and thick rubber bands. Even if you aren’t taking beer with you might make room in your bag for packaging to use on the return trip.

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Vintage beer commercials

Vintage Beer CommercialsDoesn’t it seem to you that Russell Crowe should have starred in a beer movie instead of his wine-soaked release (“A Good Year’) a while back?

BeerBooks.com has DVDs on just about any beer-related subject you could want. From making beer to the history of beer to beer and food to great old commercials.

Now if they just sold a remote that doubled as a bottle opener.