It would be all too easy for me to make a holiday buying guide for the beer enthusiast. But would I be reaching the right audience? Would I really be helping beer blog readers out? No, we’d just get all that more covetous of this book, or that gadget.
So I thought, rather than pull a Homer Simpson and buy my wife a refractometer, I’ll just give the idea some thought for all you beer folks out there that need a non-beer gift idea.
I didn’t think very hard. I have three suggestions for you that are related to some good people I know: one is an artist, another a small town gift shop owner, and the other is a group of community members working to raise money to restore the opera house near where I live.
The Artist you should buy from
Rachel Simms has become a buddy of mine. To start, I admire her artistic talent, which I’ve been able to see in her time as Artist-in-Residence at the Corning Center for the Fine Arts. Further, she’s turned out to be a willing fill-in at Electric Burrito, when my lunch server is sick or in a car accident. Rachel used to do lotsa glass bead sortsa stuff, and then got into silversmithing. Her new a-go-go line combines the two. If you’ve got someone on your shopping list that likes jewelry, I’d encourage you to give Rachel a shout (fuzzishu [AT] gmail . com). She’s a starving artist, a good cook, and a good person. Since I know that Beer Folk like to spend their money in a purposeful way, I’d consider supporting Rachel a good idea for your superfluous holiday spending.
The Frog you should buy from
The Fickle Frog has been a fixture on Main Street Corning for 27 years, and is owned by another good buddy of mine, Donna Hogan. You may remember her from all the beer I made her (and five other women) drink in the name of research last year. She’s been a huge support in my effort to open our restaurant, and recently launched online sales from her website. So, when you’re scrambling to do your shopping, click your way over to all the cool stuff Donna keeps in this small town. It’s quite eclectic, and you really need to visit her shop, but the website might have to do for some of you further afield. Lotsa good stuff: pottery, jewelry, books, stuff for kids and a whole lotta whatnot.
The Opera House you should restore
Finally, I’d toss out a gift for the person who has everything: a donation to a good cause. I’ll admit it won’t feed starving children, protect abused animals or research a cure for cancer, but if you’re into historical preservation, this may just be the tax write-off you were looking for. The Corning Opera House is one of about 1500 built between 1870 and 1920. As you can see from the video, it’s past its prime. There are a bunch of good people in Corning working toward its restoration to infuse yet another layer of entertainment and beauty into this self-rejuvenating small Iowa town.
You can actually just shoot me an email on this one (jwmongrel [AT] yahoo . com), as I recently joined the Board. I can put you in contact with the right person locally.
Sorry for the self-indulgent non-beer post, but there’s balance in my life, and plugging these folks is part of my brewvana. Now, for a beer…