Great brew gifts for Dad

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With Father's Day looming this weekend, you may need help finding the gift pack of brews that are sure to be a perfect gift for Dad every beer-loving dad.

All dads' tastes in beer are different. It may be a bit tough to fight through the myriad of new beers in the market, in order to find the right, thoughtful, non-budget-breaking Father's Day gift. We want to assist, and to do that you only need to decide which of these categories your dad fits into.

Before selecting your particular "Dad" category, here is some basic beer info that can be helpful

- Lager beers use "bottom-fermenting" yeasts. Lagers tend to have more crisp and clean flavors than their ale counterparts, which are made with "top fermenting" yeast strains.

- Pilsners are a type of lager, which originated in the Czech Republic. Pilsners tend to be light straw/golden in color and have strong hop and spice flavors with crisp refreshing flavor. Many iconic beers, including Coors, Miller and PBR, originally derive from the refreshing pilsner style.

- "IPA" stands for India pale ale, a hoppy-style of beer within the pale ale category. Double IPAs (DIPAs), also called Imperial IPAs, are a much hoppier style of IPAs with alcohol content above 7.5 percent by volume.

- Pale ale is a type of beer that is brewed with mostly pale malts for a more equal malt-to-hop ratio. It's made with a warm fermentation process, which keeps the product at temperatures usually between 59 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit. The greater amount of pale malts causes the beer to have a lighter color and flavor.

- Saison brew (French for "season") is a pale ale that is generally a rustic, low-alcohol style of beer, often brewed with native yeasts and indigenous ingredients.

- Imperial stouts use base pale malt and roasted barley, and add chocolate, caramel and Munich malt to produce a rich, malty, deeply flavored stout. Although higher in ABV (alcohol by volume), a great Imperial stout will have a balance between power and elegance.

Now, on to the gift for Dad ...

Most beer drinkers can be identified into these three basic categories: "Joe Six Pack," "Brave New World" or "Connoisseur."

JOE SIX-PACK

There are your rock-solid, easy-to-please dads, who will enjoy any beer, as long as it's an ice-cold "Joe Six-Pack" style, which should taste clean, refreshing, on the lighter side and not heavily hopped or bitter. For these dads, we've selected four great pilsners, lagers and pale ales.

- Night Shift "Nite Lite" from Everett, Mass. (American light lager, unfiltered, all natural 4.3 percent ABV)

- Threes Brewing "Vliet Pilsner" from Brooklyn, N.Y. (German-style pilsner, 5.1 percent ABV)

- Brooklyn Brewing Summer Ale from Brooklyn, N.Y. (Light American pale ale, refreshing, floral and flavorful "sunny" pale ale, 5 percent ABV)

- Switchback Ale from Burlington, Vt. (Classic English-style reddish-amber ale, smooth and well-balanced, 5 percent ABV)

BRAVE NEW WORLD

Brave New World are those easy-to-please dads. They're happy to explore and enjoy a range of great brews. Although the brews must be well-made and special, the journey and the exploration (with you) is the most important aspect. For these dads, we recommend these great selections of light Saison, American pale ale and Massachusetts-brewed IPAs.

- Mystic Brewing "Table Beer" from Chelsea, Mass. (Light, dry, elegantly flavored Saison, farmhouse ale, 4.3 percent ABV)

- Night Shift "Whirlpool Pale Ale" from Everett, Mass. (Unfiltered, dry American pale ale, 4.5 percent ABV)

- Winter Hill Brewing Co. "Darlin's IPA" from Somerville, Mass. (Local-son brewer/owner Bertram Holdredge, East Coast American IPA, 6.2 percent ABV)

- Brewmaster Jack "Little Brother Double IPA" from Williamsburg, Mass. (Hazy, gold color, citrus, orange and light bitter notes. Double IPA, 8.5 percent ABV)

CONNOISSEUR'S SELECTIONS

Then we have Dads who are lovers of the most uniquely flavored, full-throttle, cutting edge, craft brews. For these die-hard, Bruce Willis pioneers of connoisseur brews, we highly recommend these four selections of barrel-aged Saison, unfiltered ale, IPA and dark, rich stout.

- Hermit Thrush "Supah Phunk" from Brattleboro, Vt. (Barrel-aged sour Saison, funky Philly yeast, malty and mellow hops, 5.9 percent ABV)

- Toppling Goliath "Pseudo Sue" from Decorah, Iowa (Unfiltered pale ale juice-bomb! Citra hop, ferocious aromas, mild-bite finish, 6.20 percent ABV)

- Cigar City "Jai Alai IPA" from Tampa, Fla. (Complex, rich East Coast IPA, copper color, citrus bitter, hint of caramel, tropical hop finish, 7.50 percent ABV)

- Evil Twin "Imperial Biscotti Chili Hazelnut Break" from Brooklyn, N.Y. (Rich, flavored Imperial stout, with coffee, chili, hazelnut and vanilla extracts, 11.5 percent ABV)

These great brews are Spirited staff favorites. Any and all of these would make Dad very happy!

Jim Nejaime is the owner, importer and wine buyer at SPIRITED Wines in Lenox, who is a passionate wine merchant traveling the world to find great wines since 1979.


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