The Piaget Beer Gauge
There are those kinds of people who know exactly what to do with a slide-rule, and then there are those who just want a beer already. An endearingly technical contraption for drink exactitude, the Beer Gauge targets the overlapping demographic as its precise niche.
Inspired by the theories of scientist Jean Piaget and lots of scary-looking differential equations, the gauge, constructed from “rigid, scientifically designed waterproof material (i.e., plastic),” is used to determine if your pint poured is indeed a pint. By resting the notched credit-card-sized ruler along the top and side of the conical beer glass, one can measure the height of the liquid and the resultant volumetric reading.
Obviously, the lower the fill-line, the less beer in the glass, but this unflinchingly objective tool shows you exactly how much less. It’s one thing to tell the bartender that your ale’s a little under-poured; it’s another thing entirely to point out that it’s approximately 13 percent under the expected return on investment. Politely, of course.
With patent pending and plenty of gratuitous arrows and scientific graphs, the gauge is surely destined as a beer-geek stocking stuffer. [Available for $2 at thebeergauge.com]
Glass Tap Handles
Few would argue that a well-tended bar is a thing of art: smoothly worn counters and seats, filled glasses scattered about, the rosy faces of pleased patrons. In such live-and-let-loose environments, the layers of craftsmanship could always go beyond the status quo. Accordingly, Dan McStocker of San Diego has raised the bar (so to speak) with his handcrafted, glassblown tap handles.
A veritable BeerAdvocate and sales representative for Stone Brewing Company since 2002, McStocker also tends a parallel passion in studio glassblowing. An award-winning artist, he’s been shown in several local galleries, and in addition to his tap handles, creates vases, bowls and sculptural glass. (We have a feeling he probably doesn’t mix his love for beer and hot molten glass simultaneously. However, that’d be wicked impressive.)
Twenty-four of his distinct, colorful handles grace the draft line at the Main Tap Tavern in El Cajon, Calif., in a dizzyingly grasp-friendly flourish of physical invitations to yank and let flow. Kind of like elongated, giant glass marbles (or, if you prefer, a gorgeous twist on the glass dildo), the handles’ swirling patterns seemingly know no boundaries to hue or design.
For anyone seeking an original gift or just a rockstar way to revamp their bar, these smooth beauties are just the thing to wrap your hands—and mind—around. [liquidglassco.com]
Good Beer Guide Prague & the Czech Republic by Evan Rail (CAMRA Books, 2007)
When it comes to beer, we’re pretty sure you have a natural knack for navigation, organization and copious investigation. But, seriously—you’d be wont to prepare for adventurous meandering about a nation that boasts the highest beer consumption per capita in the WORLD. And where, exactly, is this magical place?
None other than the Czech Republic, where they “drink well over 160 litres (35.2 gallons) for every man, woman and child,” and the home of Pilsner (as you never tasted it before), diverse pivo (aka beer) and the unfathomably beautiful city of Prague. Author Evan Rail, whose humorously clear-cut guidance proves—and cracks—wise, soon envelops you with his effusive love for beer and the Czech people.
This sleek paperback surprisingly supplies everything you need for a successful beer trek, with great introductions to the beer culture and more than 100 brewery reviews, along with detailed info on travel, lodging and what to expect for dinner (pig-eschewers beware—“In the Czech lands, vegetarianism is a long, narrow path along a sheer cliff face composed of stacks of streaky bacon and pork sausages”).
Enjoy practicing your pronunciation, if only to ensure your request for 12˚ Medlešický ležák světlý doesn’t prompt an inadvertent slap in the face. [Available for £9 at shop.camra.org.uk] ■