It’s getting down to the wire now, and so online sales are growing a little less desirable, since the clock is ticking on the likelihood of something ordered reaching its destination in time. Except if you pick something that is specifically intended to arrive late, and then continue arriving throughout the coming year. I refer, of course, to a magazine subscription.
I brought this up way back at Gift Idea #5, mainly because that was — and still is! — such a good deal, but it bears repeating. Because frankly, the quality of drinks writing in specialized periodicals today is higher than it has ever been, at least during my now more than two decade tenure as a drinks writer.
Certainly the grande dame of beer publications is All About Beer, and it’s still a keeper, IMO. Yes, I’m on their tasting panel, but that doesn’t bias my opinion in this regard. The old lady is better written, better laid-out and more compelling than it has ever been, and so definitely worth consideration.
Another mag I like, even though I’ve never written for it, is Imbibe. It’s appeal is mostly to the omnivorous imbiber, someone like myself who might on any given evening have a cocktail or a beer or a glass of wine or whisky, because it covers it all, and does so with style and panache.
I’ve likewise never written for DRAFT, although I do enjoy reading it. It’s a bit like AAB simply because of its nature, of course, but more prone towards what I might call the “grand gesture” article, like the current ’25 Beers of the Year’ cover story. So if that’s the kind of pronouncement you enjoy, this could be the one for you or your friend/family member.
Other publications I’d endorse are more regional in scope, great if you live in their area of specialization, less useful if you do not.
The Celebrator is now national in scope, and has been for some time, but still displays a distinct west coast prejudice, just as Ale Street News espouses principally an east coast view. Another left coast focused mag I’ve been enjoying of late is the aptly-titled Beer West, which I’ve found to be clever and well-organized, and entertaining even for a non-westerner. Canadians are sure to enjoy TAPS, although its expanding coverage means that beer aficionados south of the border might be tempted, as well.
And if absolutely none of the above work for you, you can always fall back on that men’s lifestyle standard Esquire, which is consistently well-written and worth the subscription price for David Wondrich’s superb drinks writing