Taste the pleasures… even if it’s not beer

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First Posted: 12/5/2014

While the joys of great craft beer have long resonated with those who indulge in it, there are some who either don’t drink or who also enjoy the tastes of other great beverage, alcoholic or otherwise. Let us not forget them this holiday season or treat yourself to some of the other pleasures in life with a few suggestions for great gifts for the drinker in your life.

1. Blue Bottle Coffee: This coffee company roasts batches within 48 hours of sending it out to be consumed. The freshness and flavors are pronounced and you will never look at coffee the same way again. A great program offered is a subscription based one that roasts a different single origin coffee every other Sunday and mails it immediately for a new coffee experience each time. They have standard blends and single origin batches offered regularly. It may be a bit pricier then some of the mass produced coffee available on stores shelves, but the coffee is well worth the price. Check them out at www.bluebottlecoffee.com

2. Josh Cellars Legacy Red Blend Wine: Josh Legacy is an easy-to-drink red blend that pairs well with holiday staples like turkey and stuffing. Winemaker Joseph Carr created this wine in honor of his father – making it a meaningful choice and a perfect wine to enjoy with family during the holiday season. Legacy has aromas of blueberry pie, fresh raspberries, and cigar box. The wine is dense and lush with flavors of plum, black currant and dark chocolate, offering a luxuriously smooth texture and a long, juicy bing cherry and cocoa powder finish. Plus, now through Dec. 31, $1 from every bottle purchased will be donated to Operation Homefront’s Holiday Meals for Military.

3. Moonlight Meadery Fling: Mead, or honey wine, has come a long way and with meaderies like Moonlight Meadery pushing the boundaries, this beverage has no end in sight. Try Fling, a gathering of flavors including honey, rhubarb and strawberries. The rhubarb is distinctly tart, and pleasing. It is also made with orange blossom honey adding a hint of citrus. The 13 percent ABV will rival some of your favorite wines and should be treated with the same respect. Get this for a loved one and start a fling of your own.

4. Craft Spirits: The growing popularity of craft beer has spilled over into a variety of other arenas including spirits. Many craft breweries entered the spirits world with a great deal of success. However, some may be a bit more difficult to find due to distribution limitations. Some great ones to be on the lookout for are: Dogfish Head- Brown Honey Rum, made with Delaware wildflower honey and aged on American oak chips; Anchor Brewing- HopHead Vodka, a vodka infused with a wonderful bittering component from fresh hops; and New Holland Brewing- Beer Barrel Aged Bourbon, aged in used Dragon’s Milk barrels imparting biscuit like notes.

5. Craft Soda: The movement toward “craft” in any beverage is evident with many soda makers creating new lines of craft sodas, as well as some who have been making these beverages for quite some time. Recently, Pepsi announced their new craft soda line called Caleb’s Kola made with real cane sugar. There are other great craft soda makers certainly worth picking up for that loved one who craves the sugar rush. Try the Pennsylvania based Appalachian Brewing Company’s line of sodas. The birch beer is fantastic. Jones Soda Co., and HotLips Soda offer some fresh and natural sodas. All boast natural ingredients and the use of real sugar.

While craft beer certainly gets a lot of love from those in the drinking world it is important to keep in mind those who don’t drink alcohol or don’t drink beer. Even those who enjoy craft beer find their palate develops over time and soon find once favorable foods or drinks are no longer pleasing. Anything on this list is great for those who expect more from their beverages.