By Hillary Del Ross
GSI Outdoors Commuter Java Press
This mug was made for those of us who can’t bear to leave the French press behind when traveling. The Java Press operates like your kitchen carafe, but the features are modified for folks on the go. An inner mug made of BPA-free plastic walls replaces the traditional plunger and adds a layer of insulation. The exterior adds another layer of insulation on the exterior, including a comfortable nonslip recycled neoprene sleeve. Flip open the spill resistant lid to enjoy sip after sweet sip of your favorite steaming beverage. Just make sure to follow the assembly directions—in order—or you might end up with more on your clothes than in your bloodstream. $19.95 ~HD
GSI Outdoors Gourmet Kitchen Set 11
Perfect for the mobile foodie on your list, the Kitchen Set offers a ton of tools and packs up and away easily. The collapsible spatula, ladle, and whisk are useful, but keep in mind these are designed to be lightweight and packable, so cook up a storm but exercise a bit of caution in handling these utensils. Waterproof condiment and spice containers ensure full flavored fare without adding bulk or mess. Speaking of messes, yours will clean up quickly with the included scraper, scouring pad, and quick-dry towel. The travel tote has a mesh pocket or elastic loop for each item so things don’t shift around in your pack, car, RV, or boat. This kit even includes a cutting board, just don’t forget to bring a knife; an extra set of loops is provided to keep it secure. $39.95 ~HD
Beer: Northshire Brewery Chocolate Stout
Resting in a pint glass, this classic British-style stout reminds me of a root beer float with its frothy head and cola-dark color. A rich sent of chocolate comes through at first sniff, reinforcing the comparison. Don’t let the sweet impression steer you away; this Bennington, Vermont-made chocolate stout has a slightly bitter bite that balances out a milder-than-expected chocolate flavor, which comes from both the chocolate malt added during brewing and a secret chocolate ingredient added in the process. Staying true to the style, Northshire brews this beer with hops and malt imported from England. A toasty, roasted flavor on the smooth finish leaves me longing for another warming sip on this chilly Vermont night. I’m enjoying this beer at home thanks to the portable 22-ounce format, but you may also find it on tap around the state. At 6 percent ABV, I’m happy there is another pour waiting for me in the fridge.