Meant to be savored and sipped at room temperature, Samuel Adams Utopias ($150) is only for the most daring of beer connoisseurs. The 2009 batch is the strongest yet, with a staggering 27% alcohol by volume rating (a standard beer is about 5%). The rich, dark, uncarbonated (and world's strongest) beer is brewed in small batches, blended, and aged in the Barrel Room at the Samuel Adams Boston Brewery, where you'll find only 53 barrels of the stuff. The limited-edition 2009 batch of Utopias is bottled in numbered, ceramic brew kettle-shaped decanters.
There's nothing more satisfying than decorating your abode with artwork or photos of your own creation, and CanvasPop ($49 and up) makes it easier than ever to do so. As the world's only large format printing company to work with images of any resolution, CanvasPop allows you to make gorgeous canvas prints of pretty much any image, even if they're taken with your iPhone or nabbed from Facebook, Photobucket, or Flickr. Once you've picked your image, you can choose from a number of cool filters to enhance the look, or leave it as-is; a team of designers is also available should you need assistance.
Ditch your boring external or portable drive and pick up one of the new LaCie Starck Hard Drives ($100-$250). Available in capacities ranging from 320GB-500GB for the Portable and 1TB-2TB for the external, these gorgeous Philippe Starck-designed drives feature shiny, organically-shaped front surfaces with tough gray shells and USB 2.0 connectivity. In addition, the desktop version's front is touch-sensitive, allowing you to open applications with the touch of a finger, as well as a signature Stark status LED that glows green or orange based on activity. [Thanks, Matthew]
Leave it to the air maestros at Dyson to create a fan with no blades. The Dyson Air Multiplier ($300-$330) uses a fairly ingenious design to suck air into the base, accelerating it through an small aperture in the device's ring and then over a ramp to channel its direction. As it happens, this also causes the air behind and around the machine to be drawn into the airflow, creating a smooth stream of air amplified 15 times, without the unpleasant buffeting caused by the blades of a traditional fan chopping the air. The only downside? It's a $300 fan.
If you're a long-time Uncrate reader, you know that we were sold on this book by the title alone — but it's not exactly what you'd think. Instead of focusing solely on The Big Lebowski, Cathleen Falsani's The Dude Abides ($10) is an exploration intro to the existential questions raised by the entire Coen brothers catalogue, from Blood Simple to A Serious Man. Whether it's death, life, love, truth, or evil, there's a Coen film that touches on it, and not always in the way you'd expect. [Thanks, Christopher]
Whether you're upgrading the office or doing a dream kitchen makeover, the Ariston Built-in Coffee Center ($2,150-$2,260) will make a fine addition. This in-wall brewing system can dispense cups of coffee, espressos, cappuccinos, lattes, teas, or just plain ol' hot waters two at a time thanks to dual heating elements. Each drink can be customized with a turn of a dial, and the built-in LED display lets you keep an eye on the action, all for the price of 600 or so White Chocolate Mochas.
What good is a portable hard drive if you're afraid to take it anywhere? With the Hitachi SimpleTough Hard Drive ($100-$135), you simply grab your data and go. Featuring a rugged body with grippy rubber sides and a smooth rubber body, the SimpleTough can withstand drops of up to 7 feet and also offers underside lighting and an integrated USB cable, giving you one less thing to remember when packing for your next spy mission.
Spice up your living room decor with the UpCycle Ottoman ($425). This 18-inch square foot cushion is upholstered with repurposed jute bags that were previously used to transport organic coffee beans, logos, stencil print, and all, making each and every one unique. Granted they aren't likely to match your current furniture, but as conversation pieces, they're hard to beat.
Get some new gear for your kitty or pooch while helping out some less-fortunate animals by picking up some Found Collars & Leashes ($42-$76). Produced by local craftsmen in the Brooklyn, NY and New England areas, the orange collars and harnesses are made from Waxwear 100% cotton canvas that's coated with animal safe wax for weatherproofing and increased strength, while the leashes and leads are made from custom-made, ultra-strong rope, with whipped ends for added durability and solid brass o-rings and solid bronze clips for years of use. And 25% of all the profits goes directly to the Louis Animal Foundation, a non-profit that spays/neuters and finds homes for animals.
No matter how many frequent flyer miles you've racked up, we can all use some help maximizing the space inside our luggage. Spacepak ($30-$98) accessories help you do exactly that. The system of bags — available for clothes, underwear, shoes, suits, and more — allows garments to undergo double compression, virtually doubling the usable space inside your carry-on.
Add a little spice to your holiday TV routine with It's A Very Sunny Christmas ($16). Despite complaints over its full-length film pricing, this double-length episode of Sunny is packed with even more crude humor, foul language, and selective violence than usual, which sounds like a perfect antidote to the slew of sanitized classics that pervade the airways in December.
Given the outrageous drink pricing at most major sporting and music events, no one is going to blame you for sneaking in your own hooch — but when security rears its ugly head, it's way better to not have an expensive carrying device in your pocket. Enter the Disposable Flask ($13/set of 3). These 7.5 oz. reusable foil pouches are portable, freezable, pocketable, and easily disposable, and feature airtight plastic lids that won't leave tell-tale leakage marks on your clothes.
If you're searching for great authentic retro furniture in NYC, Sit & Read Furniture is a good place to start. Purveyors of "mid century and industrial furnishings" with showrooms in Central Williamsburg and Brooklyn, S&R offers a variety of classic pieces, from furniture by Eames and Knoll to custom-made industrial pieces and old maps. The constantly rotating stock is sure to hold a treasure for your home. [Thanks, Adam]
Just like Blue Harvest provided a faithful parody of A New Hope, Family Guy: Something, Something, Something, Dark Side ($15) is a typically Griffin-like take on The Empire Strikes Back. In addition to the hilarious double-length episode, the DVD also comes with extras like audio commentary, deleted scenes, a behind the scenes featurette, and more.
Trim your arsenal of golf tools down by picking up a DivPro ($15). This multi-functional golf tool combines a typical divot tool with a ball marker, cigar holder, club face cleaner, grip saver, and a shotgun opener for the clandestine chugging of beers mid-round.
The Wilson Rebound Recycled Basketball ($12) is a rugged outdoor ball that's made of 40% recycled scrap rubber. The official-size b-ball is also sold in a packaging that's made from 80% pre and post consumer recycled board. Drain some threes without draining the planet.
It might be the bag full of oranges still sitting on our kitchen counter with nowhere to go, but the Atomic Fruit Bowl ($32) really caught our eye today. Inspired by atomic particle motion, the bowl's open-air design will keep your fruit fresh and make for a unique centerpiece.
Growing up, we certainly had our share of fun — and got into a fair share of trouble — with our potato guns. Now we can rebuild better, stronger guns with the help of Backyard Ballistics ($11). Plans for building potato guns, a match-powered rocket, a tennis ball mortar, a pneumatic missile, and more are included. Just make sure not to bust out your neighbor's windows with your "toys."
Ditch that entire cup full of neglected No. 2's and Bics on your desk and replace them with one of these sleek pens from Lamy. The multi-function Twin Pen ($48) features a silver and chrome exterior and lets you twist one way for a ballpoint pen and the other for a 0.5mm pencil.