Holiday Gift Guide 2019: ‘The Microbrewery Handbook’ by DC Reeves

unnamed - 2019-11-24T213801.006The 2019 Holiday Season is fast approaching and it is time to start thinking about those unique gift ideas. The crew here at Mashing In is well aware that it is often difficult to find that perfect gift, so we have decided to compile a gift guide for anyone in your life that enjoys a well-crafted adult beverage from time to time. This installment of the gift guide is for the craft beer lover in your life who dreams of one day opening his/her own brewery: The Microbrewery Handbook – Craft, Brew & Build Your Own Microbrewery Success by DC Reeves.

Published by Wiley & Sons, Inc. (Hoboken, New Jersey), The Microbrewery Handbook is an “indispensable, first-of-its-kind book” written by DC Reeves, author and founder of Perfect Plain Brewing Company in Pensacola, Florida. Meant to be a useful “guide to the business of craft beer,” this new book “explains that while great tasting beer is important, there are many elements beyond the beer itself that go into creating, growing, and sustaining a successful microbrewery in today’s saturated market.”

“Gone are the days when opening a microbrewery and calling it ‘local’ equaled unrivaled success,” Reeves said. “What will define success in this new era of craft beer is how well a brewery does the other things besides beer: Hiring, customer experience, employee engagement, operations, cash flow. Our industry has graduated past the simple importance of merely making great beer and into a new fiercely competitive world.”

Synopsis (sourced directly from the publisher’s press release):

The Microbrewery Handbook offers real-world advice and proven strategies to help brewers thrive in the competitive micro and craft brewing industry. Based on his own experience as the founder of Perfect Plain Brewing Company in Pensacola, Florida, Reeves offers practical guidance for brewers covering everything from the basics of brewing and the financial and business side of opening a brewery to creating a company culture, getting the word out, and helping a brewery thrive in local communities. The book also includes interviews and insight with industry experts as well as owners of some of the nation’s elite craft breweries including Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head, Jeffrey Stuffings of Jester King and Doug Resier of Burial Brewing.

Broken down into five sections, Reeves dives into the business of beer and explains:

  • The Basics – Understand the industry, focus and differentiate your taproom.
  • Build Your Microbrewery – Create a business plan and figure out the financials
  • Leadership & Company Culture – The keys to strong leadership, hiring well, and how to keep happy and engaged employees.
  • Creating an Incredible Customer Experience – How to build a taproom that both pleases customers and garners revenue.
  • Get The Word Out – Tips for branding, social media and public relations.
  • Love Your Local Community – Turn a taproom into a community anchor and attract and hold on to loyal customers.

The Microbrewery Handbook is available for pre-order now ($25) and will officially hit shelves on November 26.  Look for this new book to be available wherever books are sold (in stores and on online).  Prost!

Father’s Day Gift Guide From Highland Park

HighlandParklogoFather’s Day is just around the corner and Highland Park Distillery (Kirkwall, Scotland) has released a Scotch Whisky Gift Guide that makes it easier than ever to hook dad up with the perfect bottle.

Dad.  A guy that we all tend to think of as a person who is wise, experienced, and knows exactly what he likes and wants.  Coincidentally, people also characterize Scotch drinkers with those same attributes . . . so why not combine the two this Father’s Day?

It just so happens that Highland Park currently has a stunning array of Scotch Whiskies currently available on shelves and they have provided us all with a handy gift guide that breaks them all down.  Whether dad is new to whisky or has enjoyed Scotch for years, there is truly “an expression for every type of whisky-loving dad.”  Just check out the descriptions of the whiskies below, match a one to your father’s tastes, and give him a thoughtful gift on June 17 that he can enjoy and savor for months.  Prost!

HP_17_Magnus_Old_Fashioned_serve_and_bottle-587x720-61e031cf-4ef7-4084-abb5-a3664d6c985eFor the dad dedicated to tradition:

MAGNUSHighland Park stays true to their founder’s bold and uncompromising approach to whisky making – very little has changed the last 220 years. Magnus celebrates the unbroken traditions with a single malt whisky, matured in sherry seasoned American oak casks, that delivers notes of sweet vanilla, overlaid with distinctive aromatic smokiness. Magnus is a recent Gold Medal Winner in the 2018 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

Flavors: lemon | vanilla sponge cake | caramelized pineapple | aromatic peat smoke | sweet violets

ABV: 40%

$40 RRP / 750 ml

18-year-old-pack-768x1039-532x720-4fc8097c-891b-4b12-862d-983838ce047fFor the proud craftsman:

18-YEAR-OLD – Named Best Spirit in the World in the Spirit Journal on two separate occasions, the intense balance of flavors going in Highland Park’s 18 Year Old owes everything to the distillery’s five traditional keystones of production. Slow burning, aromatic peat, Sherry seasoned European oak casks, cool maturation in Orkney’s temperate island climate and a long and unhurried harmonization process.

Flavors: Cherries | dark chocolate | toffee | marzipan | heather honey | aromatic peat smoke

ABV: 43%

$140 RRP / 750 ml

HP_17_Full_Volume_700ml_bottle_carton_PNG-768x864For the music-loving dad:

FULL VOLUME – This whisky was created using 100% ex-bourbon casks rather than Highland Park’s traditional sherry-seasoned ones. Distilled in 1999, FULL VOLUME was filtered at just over 4oC and delivers flavors of creamy vanilla and sweet citrus fruits from the bourbon casks, balanced by Highland Park’s characteristic aromatic smokiness.

Flavors: Vanilla | Coconut | Mango | Pineapple | Cedar Wood | Lemon peel | Vanilla pods | Light smoke

ABV: 47.2%

$100 RRP / 750 ml

HP_17_The_Dark_750ml_Pack_Trio_WEB-720x720-8fe6f19d-7da1-40f7-807f-44041a7eca9cFor the whisky connoisseur:

THE DARK – A 17-year-old since malt whisky that has been matured exclusively in first fill sherry-seasoned European oak casks. The result is a perfectly balanced whisky packed with flavors of dried fruit and spices overlaid with hints of smoky peat. With a limited release of just 4,500 bottles in the USA, THE DARK will be succeeded by THE LIGHT in summer 2018.

THE DARK is a recent Double Gold Medal Winner in the 2018 San Francisco World Spirits Competition, named Best Distillers’ Single Malt Scotch – 13 to 19 Years.

Flavors: dried fruits | cinnamon | toasted almonds | cedar wood | fruit cake | light smoke

ABV: 52.9%

$300 RRP / 750ml


**Editor’s Note** Before the letters begin filling our inbox, we are completely aware that women are just as likely to enjoy Scotch as men. So, if mom happens to enjoy a nightcap of fine whisky, please feel free to use the gift guide above for Mother’s Day as well.

Holiday Gift Idea: The TrailKeg

Bottle_Callouts_trans_1024x1024Holiday shopping days are drying up fast, but you still have the chance to hook up the beer fan in your life with a sweet TrailKeg growler system.

We all know that growlers are awesome because they provide us with the option to enjoy fresh draft beer in the comfort of our own homes.  The only issue: that freshness is quickly compromised in traditional growlers the moment you unscrew the cap for your first pour.   CO2 escapes, oxygen gets in, the beer goes flat, and its flavor could be altered.

The remedy: TrailKeg, “a vacuum-insulated CO2 pressurized beer growler that keeps . . . drinks cold for 24 hours and perfectly carbonated for weeks.”  Designed to be a multipurpose device, the TrailKeg can be used as a stand-alone tap system or – with available upgrades – it can “[interface] with industry standard equipment that many beer lovers already own, such as Kegerators, beer taps, gas systems, and more.” Its convenience goes well beyond that as its “virtually indestructible” stainless steel construction and vacuum insulation allow you to pour perfectly “cold and carbonated” beers while “tailgating, enjoying a weekend outdoors, or enjoying a cold one on the back porch with a group of friends.” Whether you are at home or out on an adventure, TrailKeg’s versatile capabilities easily make it the growler that you need to have at your side.

The 64 oz. TrailKeg Growler alone starts at $29.99 each or you can go all-in with the tap-ready TrailKeg Package (64 oz.) that starts at $99.99 each (click here for options and direct link to purchase).  Either way you choose to go with this gift, rest assured that any beer lover will get plenty of use and mileage out of a TrailKeg.  Prost!

Holiday Gift Idea: Bottle Opener Roundup

If you are looking for the perfect stocking stuffer for the beer aficionado in your life, for the love of all that is good do not waste your money on some gimmicky, novelty “beer-related” item you found on some display in some department store.  Instead, spend your hard-earned cash on something that they will actually use.  Something functional.  Perhaps something like one of these awesome bottle openers:

For the Bottle Cap Collector –  The GrOpener – starting at $16 each (pictured above)

Short for “Grabopener”, the GrOpener is an aluminum bottle opener designed to use the “motion and force from the act of grabbing the bottle to also remove the cap.”  Beyond its universal design (that also “accommodates amputees, stroke victims and others who may only have full use of one hand”), the GrOpener “keeps caps flat, . . . leverages pull tabs on cans, and [has a] magnet [that allows] it to stow on your beer fridge.”  One of the contributors here at Mashing In is an avid bottle cap collector, and the GrOpener gets daily use in our office because each cap remains in pristine condition after removal.  For that reason, we can confirm that this item is an awesome opener that is built for function while still having great aesthetics.


For the Stylish Beer Drinker – The Go-Comb Bottle Opener – starting at $15.99 each

“Made from precision-crafted stainless steel and coated with a smooth finish”, the Go-Comb Bottle Opener fits easily in your wallet or bag, keeps you looking good, and conveniently opens your beer.  What else could you ask for?  In case you were wondering, the comb has a fine-tooth design that “works best in short hair and beards.”


For the Cycling Enthusiast – Road Popper – starting at $35 each

A lot of cyclists these days like to finish off a long ride with a refreshing beverage, and the Road Popper makes it so those folks can avoid having to stash an opener somewhere in their cycling shorts.  3-D printed in bronze-infused stainless steel and available in a variety of finishes, this opener is designed “to fasten discreetly to the rails on the underside of” a conventional bike saddle.  It can easily open any bottle cap, but you really shouldn’t drink and bike.  So, let’s be sure to only open beers with the Road Popper when the ride is officially done.


For the Gamer That Loves Beer – Fallout Nuka Cola Bottle Opener – $19.99 each

We all know things can get a little crazy out there in The Wastes.  For instance, say you just got out of a harrowing battle with a frickin’ Deathclaw that came out of nowhere.  Despite being wildly unprepared for that moment (both emotionally and in your inventory), you somehow triumphed.  Moments like these call for a beer, and nothing will widen a victory smile more than prying that cap off with this gorgeous, wall-mounted Nuka Cola opener.
If you have no idea what we are talking about, please excuse our nerdery.  Just trust that Fallout fans will love this opener. 


For Lovers of the Short Pour – Hermetus Bottle Opener & Resealer – $9.97 each

The Dilemma: a beer drinker really wants to get into a big ol’ bottle of delicious barrel-aged goodness, but is trying to avoid crushing 22 ounces of high ABV beer in one sitting on his/her own.  How can one possibly sip on this brew responsibly without being wasteful?
The Answer:  The Hermetus.  This item will not only allow you to open that bottle, but it also gives you the ability to “simply seal your bottle by sliding the product on the brim of the glass, keeping the carbon dioxide and freshness inside.”  Drink what you want, save the rest for later.  It’s perfect.


Holiday Gift Idea: Last-Minute Beer Gift Packs

As the holiday season nears its culmination, many of us may still be scrambling to track down a few last-minute gifts.  If a beer lover remains on your list, we have you covered with a few beer gift packs that can be easily acquired at your local bottle shop or liquor store.

gsstbernardusFor the Belgian Beer Fan: St. Bernardus Gift Set

This beautiful gift set includes a stunning chalice glass and the following four, quintessential Belgian brews from the highly regarded Brouwerij St. Bernardus of Watou:

**Note: There is another gift set available out there consisting of two glasses and a six-pack containing just the St. Bernardus Prior 8, St. Bernardus Tripel, & St. Bernardus Abt 12.**

If the target of this gift pack has been extra good this year, you could also consider rounding off the set by including a 750ml bottle of St. Bernardus Christmas Ale.

gsweihenstephanFor the German Purist: The Ultimate Bavarian Gift Pack from Weihenstephaner

Since I fall into this category, I would be absolutely elated to receive this gift pack each and every year.  This set includes a branded Weizen glass and four of the following eight beer offerings from “The World’s Oldest Brewery”, Bavarian State Brewery Weihenstephan:

**Note: The four beers in each gift pack are clearly marked on the top of the box.**

6172unp9aul-_sl1000_-1For the Craft Beer Newcomer: Spiegelau Craft Beer Tasting Kit & Hand-Selected Mix Pack

The Craft Beer Tasting Kit from Spiegelau may be a bit harder to track down, but a lot of fine craft beer stores are carrying them these days.  This gift set consists of three glasses that were meticulously crafted to improve the experience of certain beer styles.  The Craft Beer Tasting Kit includes the following three specialty glasses:

**Note: You might also find a new Craft Beer Tasting Kit from Spiegelau containing a fourth glass, The Spiegelau Barrel Aged Glass.  Either set would make an amazing gift.**

Complete this gift with a mixed six-pack of beers to go into these glasses, and you will probably earn the title of “Coolest Gift Giver Ever” from the recipient.

That’s just a handful of ideas that will make just about any beer drinker happy.  If you cannot track these down, most beer stores typically have a wide selection of other gift sets during the holiday season.  If not, just talk to the beer specialist at the bottle shop to come up with a few bottles that match the taste and personality of your target.  Go the thoughtful route and you can never go wrong.  Happy holidays to all! Prost!

Holiday Gift Idea: Bourbon Barrel-Aged Bottle Opener from YOpeners

yopenersIf you want to hook up your beer-lovin’ friend/family member this year with a unique but useful gift, you really need to check out the Bourbon Barrel-Aged Bottle Opener handcrafted by the folks at YOpeners.

Before we get to these incredibly awesome bottle openers, we really need to let you know the wonderful story behind them.  When John Miller came up with the idea to create YOpeners, his intentions went far beyond just establishing a small business.  The true inspiration for YOpeners was simply to come up with a project that allowed him to spend some quality time with his autistic and legally blind son.  Although his dexterity and vision issues keep him from using power tools, Miller’s son has become quite the expert at “helping press the carriage bolt into the opener.”  When the duo completes a batch of bottle openers, pricing for each YOpener is then set to “basically covers the cost of materials and shipping” so that they can continue to buy materials for the next project.  It is quite clear that these openers are about much more than selling a product and making a profit. They are more importantly a means to provide a father and son the chance to bond while “making some sawdust together.”

The Bourbon Barrel-Aged Rare Earth Edition YOpener has been made with various bourbon barrels that once aged beers at Anthem Brewing Company.  Once the barrels are broken down, the staves are then cut, shaped and assembled to become a uniquely designed bottle opener that “opens the bottle while leaving the cap in perfect condition with no bends or creases of any kind.”  For your convenience, these bottle openers also feature a wax cutter to handle those stubborn wax-dipped bombers and a convenient leather strap for added ease of use.  As an added bonus, the special edition Bourbon Barrel-Aged Rare Earth Edition YOpener has a “a rare earth magnet embedded so it will stick to the fridge AND hold onto the cap when you open your bottle.”  These openers are available on Etsy now for just $22 (click here to check them out), and you can even get a custom engraving add-on for $5 more.

Basically, what we have here is a thoughtful, custom-made, handcrafted gift that will see daily use and act as a heartwarming conversation piece whenever used while entertaining company.  How can you possibly go wrong here?  Make it happen and you can thank me later.  Prost!


Photo Credit (Featured Image & Above Image): Brian from the Beer God Blog

Holiday Gift Idea: Pack of Yetis from Great Divide Brewing Co.

yeti_mug_whitebackgroundLooking for that perfect gift for the craft beer lover in your life?  Well, Great Divide Brewing Co. (Denver, Colorado) just might have you covered with the release of their Pack of Yetis holiday gift pack.

We know it can a bit challenging at times when it comes to holiday shopping for a craft beer fan, but a variety pack sporting a unique drinking vessel and a selection of award-winning brews is a fantastic place to start.  Great Divide Brewing Co. made such a gift a reality when they put together and released the Pack of Yetis.  This gift pack consists of a stainless steel carabiner mug that reads, “Yeti In A Coffee Cup Looks Like Coffee In A Coffee Cup” (pictured to the right), and a random selection of three of the five Yeti Imperial Stout variants listed below (22 oz. bottles):

The Pack of Yetis is available now for the suggested retail price of $24.99 (price may vary by location) and can be found in select markets within the Great Divide distribution footprint.

greatdividebaglassIf your craft beer compadre prefers a more fanciful approach to his/her drinking experience, Great Divide Brewing also has some limited edition, specialty Barrel Aged glasses available (pictured to the left).  The fine glassware makers at Spiegelau teamed up with representatives from Great Divide, Cigar City Brewing, Green Flash Brewing Co. and Uinta Brewing to design a glass that completely enhances the nuances of barrel-aged beers.  You can order these beauties directly from the brewery’s Hop Shop for $10 each plus shipping (click here to do so).  Side note: If you are really fond of the recipient of these glasses, you can also track down a bottle of Barrel-aged Yeti Imperial Stout – a limited release offering available in December and sold separately – to throw in the box.  Do that and you will instantly become their favorite person.  Guaranteed.

We hope these gift ideas have helped you out, and be sure to check back here often because the Mashing In team will be providing tips and suggestions all holiday season long.  Prost!