Ommegang Abbey Ale comes in a serious bottle, has flavors as complex as wine, and packs a punch
The Want: A seasonal wine alternative to impress clients or co-workers. The beer should be obscure but accessible; it should also have a cool label, but it cannot be cutesy.
The Get: Brewery Ommegang Abbey Ale ($8.99, 750 ml; ommegang.com). This Belgian-style dubbel, like those brewed by Trappist monks, is crafted at Brewery Ommegang in Cooperstown, N.Y. The mahogany-colored ale has a frothy head, features an intricate blend of flavors—cherries, raisins, and brown sugar—and pairs well with meat, rich cheeses, and dessert. The alcohol content: 8.5 percent, so get the guest beds ready.
Home brewing takes beer snobbery to a new level
For craft brew freaks, there are all-in-one brewing kits such as this option from Australia's Coopers Brewery. The process is not glamorous, but it's pretty easy. First, create a liquid "wort" by adding malt concentrates and sugar to hot water. Then pour the wort into the fermenter and add yeast. Seal and wait four to seven days. Pour the beer into bottles and add some sugar. Store for 14 days, then call your friends and book the band. $99.99 at makebeer.net