It's hard work, but someone had to do it. After going row by row at 2017’s Craft Brewers Conference in Washington DC, constantly talking with beer enthusiasts, and sifting through numerous submissions, I've discovered some of the best gadgets and craft inventions that will certainly enhance a dad's imbibing experience. May the father in your life enjoy them as much as I did.
Toting around bottles and cans of Dad’s favorite brew can be often cumbersome, considering breakage and practicality. That reused old weathered cardboard carrier may collapse on him on any moment. These neoprene-insulated Bomber Jackets are highly durable, cut the beer’s warming rate in half, and sport a gold alloy zipper, which is just classy. Almost any container in the fridge is a go; they are built to fit both 12 and 16-ounce cans (the C series), 12-ounce bottles, and yes, 22-ounce glass bombers. Having an collection of HD-printed designs on each carrier will surely make Pops the star of any bottle share. You can find them at mybomberjackets.com and bombersouth.com.
Imagine Dad having his own walk-in cooler just like the one at his favorite local bottle shop, whether it’s his basement or garage. The only difference is that his would be stocked with more than 30 cases and up to four kegs of everything he, and he alone, enjoys sipping. Complete with temperature control, a glass door, sturdy shelving, and a draft system with an outside tap, the cave is ideal for crochet parties and fantasy football get-togethers alike. Trust us, his mancave (with brew cave) will immediately be the best in the neighborhood.
GrowlerWerks uKeg Pressurized Growler
Sporting tap dispensers, CO2 regulators, and beautiful luster from the stainless aluminum and copper encasings, these growlers constantly turned heads of attendees during the 2017 Craft Beer Conference. These uKegs are ideal for preserving both homebrews or favorite concoctions by the professionals for weeks, thanks to the vacuum insulation. GrowlerWerks representatives happily adjusted the pressure to pour samples of frothy pale ales and wheat brews for their ogling audience to enjoy. Easy to carry, resistant to breakage, and available in two capacities – 64 and 128 ounces – one of these growlers would surely win Dad over as well.
The YETI Colster
To make an outdoor sipping experience that much more pleasurable, the stainless steel YETI Colster will keep Dad’s brews of various sizes super chill and secure with their signature Load-and-Lock Gasket. To add to the catchy monikers for enhancements, the Colster is equipped with double-wall vacuum insulation, the “No Sweat™ Design for keeping hands dry, and DuraCoat™ Colors applied to withstand virtually any type of deterioration in black, olive green, Tahoe Blue and Seafoam.
Or you could buy Dad his own brewery.
Hammacher Schlemmer Brewing System
Imagine taking one of those space guns from futuristic cartoons of the seventies, zapping a brewpub’s brewhouse down to a deliverable size, and then sending it to Dad. To complete the picture, he'd have to unwrap it with tears of bliss running down his cheeks.
The Hammacher Schlemmer realizes his dream with this professionally automated homebrew system to make everything from a crisp Lager to a thick Imperial Stout from scratch inside the garage. A high-tech, computerized monitor system helps regulate every function of the Heat Exchange Recycling Mash (HERM) system, 15 gallon hot liquor tank, 15 gallon lauter tun, 20 gallon boil kettle, and 14 gallon stainless steel fermentation tank. They even throw in a 15 pound grain mill, a brewing paddle, eight 5 liter reusable mini kegs, a couple of growlers, and a half-dozen beer steins, all in order to create an instant Oktoberfest once the brewing is complete. For a cool $45K, Pops could be the next Sam Calagione.
Picobrew Pico System
If you'd like to take a more frugal, compact, and downright easier approach to homebrewing compared to the aforementioned Hammacher Schlemmer brewing system, the Picobrew Pico is a very popular alternative. For about $800, you can choose from a variety of “PicoPaks” based on the style of beer for this countertop-sized appliance, and the chore becomes reminiscent of making a pot of coffee… sort of. The significant difference is it takes three steps – brewing, fermenting, and carbonating. (And assuming he digs the olfactory benefits, Dad will appreciate the wonderful aroma that greets him when approaching an actual home brewery in action.)
The real kicker is that, besides Picobrew’s own creations, they provide kits based on recipes and ingredients from more than 150 partnering breweries throughout the world, which Dad can use to recreate some of his favorites. Check out the BrewMarketplace on the picobrew website and select anything from Rogue’s famous Dead Guy Ale to Alameda Island’s Autumnator Dopplebock. Nice! (Check for the PicoBrew Father’s Day promotion using the “FATHERSDAY” code as well.)
[Disclosure: ZX Ventures, which has a stake in October, also has a minority stake in PicoBrew.]