Hoppy Holidays: Doing a Gift Exchange with Craft Beer
Tired of the same old tried-and-true cookie swap this year? In lieu of cookies and sweet confections, trade your favorite local craft brews and you and your beer-loving family and friends can take away a sampler of the Valley’s finest bottlings.
The holiday season brings several limited batches of craft beer that are on and off the shelves as quickly as the rare Arizona snow melts. With so many options and so little time you are lucky to try a couple varieties before the clock hits midnight on New Year’s Eve. But there is a flavorful solution: a Holiday Hop Swap.
Hosting a Holiday Hop Swap is a piece of fruitcake. Invite fellow craft beer enthusiasts over and ask them to bring a six-pack of their favorite local craft beer. As the host, pop open a couple growlers of seasonal brews and lay out a spread of delicious pairings (see suggestions below).
At the end of the party everyone swaps their beers with other varieties to create a seasonal sampler and party favor they can enjoy throughout the holidays. Your family and friends will discover new favorites and local finds for the price of a single six-pack. The joy of giving never tasted so good.
SUN UP BREWING CO.
Phoenix, AZ | sunupbrewing.com
Warm up with their White Russian Imperial Stout flavored with coffee beans to create a smooth richness that complements desserts—especially in a beer float with vanilla ice cream.
ARIZONA WILDERNESS BREWING CO.
Gilbert, AZ | azwbeer.com
What has over six gallons of premium maple syrup, 50 pounds of brown sugar, house-roasted pecans, vanilla and whole homemade pecan pies? Arizona Wilderness Brewing Co.’s Pecan Pie Brown Ale. This popular seasonal is made annually and sells so fast they have to limit it to one growler per customer.
PAPAGO BREWING CO.
Scottsdale, AZ | papagobrewing.com
Elsie’s, an Irish Coffee Milk Stout, is a dark blend with the vibrancy of roasted coffee and a wisp of milk sugar. Serve with warm cinnamon rolls during a chilly desert night.
SAN TAN BREWING CO.
Chandler, AZ | santanbrewing.com
Urban brewmaster Anthony Canecchia created RailSlide Imperial Spiced Ale made with fresh ginger, cinnamon and licorice that pairs very well with sharp aged cheddar.