Of Birthdays and Beer and Bourbon

birthday cake Inferno

So I recently had a birthday.  The first one since Jim and I started this web site.  I’m amazed and surprised at how my brother and I starting this blog has begun to change my loved ones buying habits when it comes to my presents.  See at my size I’m not the easiest guy in the world to shop for.  Lets suffice it to say I’m not an “off the rack” kind of guy.  So it makes it a little more difficult for people to buy me that shirt, pair of jeans, or team logo jersey.  You have to know where to look, plan ahead and order out of catalogs, know which catalogs carry what items, and perhaps make a trek into Boise to the one Big and Tall man store in the State of Idaho.  It all seems a little too much since now there is a very easy alternative…


Seems at least one member of my family has taken the fact that Jim and I are doing this blog to heart.  Funny thing was that I didn’t even think to ask for any brews or bourbons for my birthday!  Duh!  Lets face it, as husband’s and fathers it is pretty certain that Birthdays, Father’s Day, and Christmas or Hanukkah, especially when your family is young, are for needed items.  Nice to have for sure, but typical gifts are clothes, underwear, fragrances, tools you need for around the house, etc.  Nice things, but necessary things too.  So when it was time to come up with my birthday list that is where I gravitated naturally.

Well imagine my pleasant surprise when I opened these gifts.  16 brews in all, and 10 different whiskeys.  Granted the whiskeys are all travel size 50 ml bottles, but it gives me a great variety for future reviews and I may find some gems here I never would have bought for myself.  My 10 year old son was very impressed, he said “Dad do you realize you received 26 alcoholic gifts for your birthday?”  Oh Yeah!!!…

So in hindsight, I may not be an “off the rack” purchase, but I sure as hell am an “off the shelf” buy, and maybe for Christmas an “off the TOP shelf” buy.


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21 Comments on “Of Birthdays and Beer and Bourbon”

  1. Jim
    September 24, 2009 at 7:57 pm #

    I think it’s amazing that they let 10 year olds buy whiskey in Idaho. But what a good son!

    Unless I read it wrong…:)

  2. Don
    September 24, 2009 at 8:03 pm #

    He’s a GOOOOOD Son!

  3. September 25, 2009 at 1:49 pm #

    First off, happy birthday (belated).
    Second, I experienced the same thing. Beer, beer paraphernalia, brewing equipment, etc. is what I have come to expect on birthdays and Christmas. I’m not complaining…I love it (as did you!)

    It works out for the giver too…they are absolutely certain that their gift will be appreciated.

    You really raked it in this year! 26 total beverages…awesome.

    • Don
      September 25, 2009 at 2:12 pm #


      That was great. What I didn’t say in the post was that one of the gifts was an international 10 pack of beer from Cost Plus World Market. I was disappointed in their selection for the pack. A lot of very light beers, and many mega breweries like Kokanee, Heineken, Amstel Light, Tsingtao, Dosxx, and the like. Would it have killed them to put in a modelo Negro, or a Spaten or Stella? I think for the cost they could have selected far better beers. But I’m not upset at the giver, just the people at Cost Plus that put the 10 pack together.

      Actually the very same giver also gave me a six pack of singles. That was much better and included Moose Drool, Pete’s Wicked Strawberry Blonde, a Blue Paddle Pilsner, and a Granny Smith Hard Cider from a Vermont brewery that I’m looking forward to trying.


    • Jim
      September 25, 2009 at 3:38 pm #

      I just realized what I’ll ask for in my stocking this year. Let the homebrewing begin!

      • Don
        September 25, 2009 at 3:56 pm #

        I’ve found that home brewing is a lot like making a box mix cake. Sure you mixed in the ingredients and cooked it, but you really didn’t create anything. I’m thinking home brewing in its traditional form might be a little too limiting for you Jim.

  4. September 25, 2009 at 2:16 pm #

    Happy birthday! Its a good thing to let this ‘hobby’ out of the bag. Like Nate said, its good for the giver too.

    • Don
      September 25, 2009 at 2:24 pm #

      It sure does give “givers” a lot of choices that they know I will love. I’m looking forward to Christmas!

  5. nostawetan
    September 25, 2009 at 7:36 pm #

    This is Mike…under Nate’s name. Andrea got me a bottle of 21 year Bushmills for a graduation gift…but b-days are always an awesome experience.

    • Don
      September 25, 2009 at 7:51 pm #


      I haven’t gotten into the aging thing too much. All I know so far is what I have read that for wheaters extra age helps cut the fire a little and gives the flavor a little more character.We’ll see I definitely liked the EC 12 year, and will pick up the 18 year eventually. My next purchase today however will be Old Wellers Antique 7/107, and WL Weller Special Reserve. Looking forward to getting into the wheat. Also got a bottle of Fighting Cock 103 last night that I haven’t cracked the seal on yet. Birthday Money it is a wonderful thing!

      • nostawetan
        September 28, 2009 at 6:58 pm #

        For what it’s worth, I was extremely disappointed with that antique Weller. I’ve relegated myself to the Stagg and Thomas Handy (if I’m drinking the antique collection).

        • Don
          September 28, 2009 at 8:09 pm #

          The major difference is that the Weller is a wheat Bourbon, where they replace the rye with wheat in the mashbill. Perhaps you don’t like wheat that hasn’t been aged a lot like Pappy Van Winkles. I think the youngest Pappy stuff is 12 years old.

  6. Jeff Schwartz
    September 25, 2009 at 8:43 pm #

    For my 40th I received about 6 or 7 bottles of good single malt – only one still remains unopened (18 year Macallen)… Good to have your friends support your (expensive) hobbies :)

    • Don
      September 25, 2009 at 8:59 pm #

      I’m not sure if they are friends or enablers! No matter though it is all good! Hey Jeff have a great weekend! FOOTBALL FOOTBALL FOOTBALL for me. Game yesterday, Game tonight, Sunday football, and then Monday night! I love this time of year!

  7. September 26, 2009 at 4:53 am #

    Me too.. I mostly get scotch and tequila for my birthday. Got some great single malts for may last one. Jara 16 and Middleton 21yr rare plus a bottle of El Tesoro anejo. o so good.. But since I started SimplyBeer, I’ve been getting a lot of good aging beer too. One of the best things is most of this comes from my in-laws, how great is that!

    • Jim
      September 26, 2009 at 11:07 am #

      Funny you mention in-laws. My buddy Frank had a birthday this past week and came over last night with three really great bottles of beer. They were part of a gift from his mother-in-law who gave him a new BYOB cooler filled with a really smart selection of craft beers. He was thrilled, as this is the first time a family member has gotten him a beer gift. I was thrilled because he shared.

    • Don
      September 26, 2009 at 3:35 pm #

      I feel a trend here. I think this is truly a good thing! Jim, we have to keep the web site going if for no other reason than the gifts!

  8. September 26, 2009 at 3:50 pm #

    Sometimes it makes me feel like a Lush… I can see people thinking, “I don’t know what to get him? oh yeah… he likes to drink.” But the rewards far out weigh my momentary lapse in reason.

    • Don
      September 27, 2009 at 10:46 pm #

      You’re not a lush! That is the great thing about having a blog. It turns you from a lush to a critic, and a lover of the brew!

  9. September 26, 2009 at 9:43 pm #


    Happy belated, I too celebrated just recently number xx birthday (not tellin). While I didn’t have any bourbon to open, that’s more my fault since I haven’t ordered any yet. My wife just gave me a budget and said order what you want…..sweet! My son’s though gave me a nice flight of varying cigars…..what could be better, bourbon and cigars.

    • Don
      September 26, 2009 at 11:00 pm #


      Nothing in this world, short of the act of making your Sons in the first place! And who knows maybe that happened too! I actually didn’t have a budget, but I did get the obligatory $50 from my parents I get every year (actually seems to get here a little later each year, so who knows how long the tradition will continue). But I’m very appreciative of having that little bit of extra cash, and so far I’ve picked up 2 bottles to my liking. There are a lot of good, inexpensive bourbons out there, and a lot that are well over the $50 mark. But that brings up a good idea. I could do a post on the best $50 bottle and the best of the lower shelf bourbons. Look for those in the future! Lots of good material for that on the Bourbon Enthusiast. Happy Belated to you too. Mine was on the 17th of Sept, how about yours?


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