Not sure what to get your picky friend or family member for Christmas? Chances are good that they’ll be happy to receive a bottle of booze — especially if it comes from an Austin-area producer.
Here are a handful of suggestions with a seasonal focus. With many of these, you won’t want to delay in grabbing a bottle.
Texas Keeper Cider’s Cider Noir: Apples are a key fall flavor, but the fruit hadn’t displayed its full potential so well this time of year until the trio behind the far South Austin cidery got a little inventive.
For Texas Keeper’s winter release, Cider Noir, they decided to age Baldwin and Idared apples on oak. That’s not all they’ve done to make the cider a seasonal stunner — the apples are first double-fermented with Belgian candi (which is typically used in dubbel and tripel ales) and then aged with toasted pecans and orange peel. As a result, it’ll pour as dark as a porter and as boozy as many a stout, at a robust 10.1 percent ABV.
You can find it at the cidery at 12521 Twin Creeks Rd. or at one of the many retail shops where Texas Keeper can be found.
Real Ale Benedictum: The Black Friday release of Tenebra Aeterna, the first Mysterium Verum beer to be bottled, seemed to indicate Christmas had come early for many fans of the Blanco brewery. Now, it really has, as Real Ale is releasing another in the series of sour and barrel-aged brews this week.
Benedictum, an award-winning sour brown ale with cherries, can now be found in stores across the state. Or, if you want to get it closer to the source, Real Ale is hosting a bottle release party on Saturday encouraging you to pick up Benedictum at one of two nearby stores and then driving to the brewery to get the bottle signed by the people who made it. That’s an extra special touch if you want to gift it to a lucky loved one.
Pedernales Cellars’ Stonewall Glögg: Mulled wine is a popular seasonal beverage that many people like to make themselves. But this year, let a wine expert do it: Texas Hill Country winery Pedernales has bottles of its glögg, a traditional Swedish dessert wine, on sale in the tasting room and at both locations of sister winery Armadillo’s Leap.
I wrote about the glögg for a seasonal drinks story running in Friday’s Austin360, if you want to learn more information about it.
Adelbert’s Brewery’s Barrel of Love trio: The North Austin brewery clearly knows how great the gift of beer is because it’s offering a whole ready-made gift pack of one of its rarer offerings.
This branded gift box, available at the brewery at 2314 Rutland Dr., has a trio of beers inside of it — three different versions of the Barrel of Love, Adelbert’s whiskey barrel-aged quad.
First up is the 2015 Barrel of Love, which has had an extra year of bottle-conditioning to develop deeper, richer flavors. Then there’s the 2016 Barrel of Love, full of “complex fruity notes of figs, raisins and plums with a soft whiskey bite,” according to the brewery. Bottles of this beer are being separately shipped out to the Texas market; only this version is leaving the brewery.
Rounding out the pack is the Blackberry Barrel of Love, the first taproom-only bottle release since Adelbert’s switched to a brewpub license early this year. Yes, it’s got lots of blackberries and tastes as such.
Revolution Spirits’ Chocolate Cafecito Liqueur: Although this distillery on the road to Dripping Springs has become recognized for its Austin Reserve Gin, Revolution also makes a variety of experimental products — chief among them the Cafecito Coffee Liqueur, liquid gold for any coffee fan out there.
The most recent release is even sweeter. For the Chocolate Cafecito Liqueur, a new seasonal bottling available from December through February each year, the distillers have macerated fair-trade OKO Caribe cacao nibs from SRSLY Chocolate, adding them to the coffee beans Revolution receives from local Cuvee Coffee.
There’s a lot more coffee than chocolate in the mix, but the chocolate is present enough to satisfy any sweet tooth over the holidays. Pick up a bottle at the distillery during open Saturday hours.
Last Stand Brewing’s Whiskey Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout: Located just yards from Revolution Spirits, the small-batch Last Stand doesn’t bottle many of its beers, which makes the special release Whiskey Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout extra special.
The brewers have had this project in the works for awhile. They “filled two freshly emptied Donner-Peltier LA1 Whiskey barrels one year ago with our first batch of Russian Imperial Oatmeal Stout,” according to the brewery, and debuted the results of it last weekend at the taproom at 12345 Pauls Valley Rd. Bldg. I.
Only 200 bottles are available, so if this one looks like the winning stocking stuffer you’ve been looking for, stop by Last Stand during weekend taproom hours to grab one.
Austin Beerworks Sputnik: The seasonal necessity is only on draft for now, as it has been in winters past, but any day now — pending TABC approval — local stores will also receive six-pack cans of the Russian imperial oatmeal stout. Austin Beerworks has been in the midst of a large expansion that has allowed the North Austin brewery to start canning some of its seasonal beers, including Sputnik.
Keep an eye on Austin Beerworks’ social media accounts for news of the can launch. Once the six-packs are in stores, there’s no doubt they’ll go fast.