Santa’s Beer Run

Are there any beer lovers reading this? Ever had a hard time finding your favorite beer and wondered why? How can I get that great beer I had while visiting Aunt Sally last year? I guess I’ll just find the brewery website and have them ship me a case. Right? Wrong!

I’ll spare you most of the details but beer is one of the most highly regulated industries that I’ve come across. Many of the laws still date to the Post-Prohibition Era when they were written to keep organized crime from running the operation. Yet today we still have regulations that protect a three-tiered system–brewery, distributor, retailer. And it’s way more complicated than that. There’s your answer to why you don’t see every beer in every city.Anyway, I thought we could have a good time poking fun at this ridiculous situation. Now everyone knows that Santa normally needs to follow the same distribution laws as everyone else, right? After all, it’s in his contract. But once a year, Christmas Eve, he gets a waiver to deliver any beer to any location in the country (assuming he won a few eBay bids, LOL, never mind, beer geek sore subject). I’m pretty sure you’ve all been nice this year, right? So what beer is on your Christmas list for Santa (non-Christians, use your imagination and just play along. Hanukkah Harry can deliver yours).

Here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to make some fun Santa Distributing Company suggestions for the holidays. Beers brewed in one place are about to go where the Beer Control Gods never intended!

Let’s start with Three Philosophers Belgian-Style Blend brewed by Brewery Ommegang in Cooperstown, NY. Remember when you visited Cooperstown to see your beloved Texas Ranger Nolan Ryan inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame? Ah, the memories. And when you took your kids to relive those memories a few years ago, you also took the Ommegang tour and had your first sip of this beautiful beer. But after it was all over, you had to go back to your Dallas life. Alas, you’ve been having visions of cherries dancing in your head ever since, every Christmas. This year Santa is going to deliver, I’m sure. If you just believe. Cherries and raisins and figs bursting in your mouth with a creamy texture and plenty of wonderful alcohol warmth. I’d drink this beer as an aperitif on Christmas night after the kids have gone to bed, instead of that espresso.

Next up, one I might personally ask for. I was going to get greedy with all of Russian River’s beers as this California brewer doesn’t distribute to South Florida. These guys make the most excellent sour beers imaginable, but I decided Russian River Pliny the Elder and Blind Pig might make a fantastic pair Santa can’t refuse for such a nice guy. Father, husband, little league coach, beer drinker… the list goes on. I’d drink them both with a steak or some pork roast, something with a little fat. Pliny is the bigger brother to Blind Pig, but both are IPAs and their hoppiness will work well with the richness of the meat.

So Blago is going to jail for a long time, huh? Well, he at least can try for one last gift from Santa. Perhaps Santa’s was sleeping for the past few years and didn’t notice the naughtiness. He should for sure be asking for Cigar City’s Cubano-Style Espresso Brown Ale to be sent directly to his Chicago home, even a full 6 pack. Huge coffee flavor with chocolate and vanilla nuances in a magnificent beer. Want food with it? Get creative and pair this beer with any food you enjoy drinking coffee with. Yes, even for breakfast with your 84-grain toast while watching the Christmas parades!

One more? OK. If you’re getting tired, imagine how much Santa has to do this time of year. There are an awful lot of beer drinkers and spectacular breweries in Colorado. But I’m hoping Santa delivers one beer in particular to a very special guy this Christmas. It might take him six weeks to drink a 6 pack, but my boss deserves only the best! And that’s why I’ve secretly added Clipper City’s Heavy Seas Loose Cannon Hop³ IPA to his wish list. Brewed in Baltimore by mainly an East Coast brewery still pushing west, I think they are one of the most underrated breweries around. Soon, My Pretties, they will be big time! Tropical, sweet and floral while still adding some citrusy bitterness for an awesomely balanced beer. You probably have some spicy wings you’ll be making right? This is your wing buddy!

What’s on your list? Tell Santa Rob!