It’s one of my favorite times of the year… the holiday season. Depending on how much beer you’ve had this year and how much trouble it’s caused you may dictate whether you’re on Santa’s naughty or nice list (I guess I’m screwed). Most of the members of my extended family know that I’m really into beer… I can’t imagine why… maybe its the fact that every time they see me, they make some sort of comment about how I always have a beer in my hand. However, one thing I have really come to dread is I know that without fail, someone is going to give me the gift of beer for Christmas. I know some of you are thinking… what’s wrong with that? Well, for those that haven’t experienced it, I’ll tell you what happens. They give you what they consider to be “craft” beer. I’ve gotten a 12 pack of Yuengling Black and Tan… I’ve gotten a mixed pack of Guiness, Harp, Killians, and Stella. Those aren’t beers that I really drink anymore, but I smile and thank them for the thoughtful gesture because it really is. They went out of their way to get me something that they know I have a passion for. But unfortunately it sits in the fridge for guests that come over who don’t enjoy the beer that I usually drink. So because of this I thought it would be helpful for some of you to have list of things to buy for a craft beer drinker that would either A) Come in very handy or B) They would be really excited about. Hopefully this list will either help you buy something for a friend/loved one, or maybe it will give you some ideas that you can add to your Christmas list.
Bottle stoppers aren’t just used for wine. They can act as a great stocking stuffer for a beer drinker. I use the Jo!e Bottle Stoppers all the time when I’m opening a big bottle and am not going to drink it all at once. It will help keep the carbonation in there for a short time. The Beer Savers Silicone Caps also seem like good options.
The days are gone where craft beer drinkers just drink out of pint glasses. The craft beer industry has really cashed in on selling us different glasses for all different occasions and styles. There is an IPA glass, a stout glass, and a tulip glass. The IPA glass is designed to help funnel the aroma of the hops out of the glass and it’s thinner than most glasses so the beer doesn’t warm up quite as fast. However my absolute favorite glass, which can be used for all types of beer, is the teku glass.
We all love to show our support for our favorite breweries. Whether it’s local or not, it doesn’t matter. It’s a symbol saying “I’ve been here” or “I love this brewery”. As hopefully you know from my first blog written a year ago (Happy One Year Anniversary to us), when I was living in Atlanta, I frequented Sweetwater quite a bit. Over the course of 3.5 years I accumulated at least 7 t-shirts. I still wear them quite a bit, but not as much as I wear my shirts Wicked Weed, Burial, Three Floyds, and soon to be acquired Haw River (I love Haw River… you can rest assured, I will be writing something about them before too long… They brew some amazing beer). Most breweries will sell merchandise through their website. Check out our Breweries page for a list of breweries in the Raleigh area.
I’m going to preface this with a disclaimer. I would only recommend buying this for someone that you know wants to start brewing their own beer. Not all craft beer drinkers enjoy brewing. I have a kit that my brother bought for me 3 or 4 years ago. I was really excited when I got it, brewed several batches the first few months and then quickly realized that I wasn’t all that good at it. It’s definitely a skill that I just wasn’t blessed with. My beer was drinkable, but I usually ended up giving most of it away because I had other things that I preferred to drink. If I had stuck with it, I’m sure I would be better, but I just don’t have that kind of patience. You can spend quite a bit of money on these homebrewing kits if you get the fancy ones, so for an amateur, I would recommend a basic one like this Gold Complete Beer Equipment Kit to let them get their feet wet and see if it’s something they want to pursue further.
The Growler Conserver is a new contraption that several different companies have come up with over the last few years. This is great for the beer drinker who likes to buy growlers from local places. Usually, a growler after a couple of openings, will lose it’s carbonation quickly. The GrowlTap and the Growler Saver are both meant to help keep your growlers fresh longer or even have your growler act as a mini tap.
6.Beer of the Month Club Membership
There are a lot of national ones out there on the market. Don’t get those. They suck. One benefit of living in the Raleigh area is we have one of the best bottle shops in the country. It just so happens, said bottle shop (cough… Bottle Revolution… cough) has a beer club that entitles you, not only to plenty of beer throughout the year, but also access to special beers and events.
Craft beer drinkers like to have cellars. We need a safe place to tuck away that special beer we acquired or a place to age those stouts and barleywines to drink years down the road. I have a beer “cellar” although it’s really just a small china cabinet. I definitely need a bigger one because I’ve run out of room. But the issue I have is where is it gonna fit. That’s where these brewbicles can come in handy. They are divided boxes that store bottles and are easily tucked away if you don’t have the space for a bulky piece of furniture to store your beer in.
8.Beer Gift Basket
I think this would be nice as a gift for someone who isn’t local. Head to one of the local bottle shops and buy some beer that is only available in NC (or if you travel to another state, grab ones that are only available there and you can use them for someone local). You could also buy a few other beer related things for your basket… maybe the movie Beerfest (not really about craft beer, but very entertaining). Or maybe one of my favorite books, I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell (again, not craft beer related, but hilarious nonetheless). Things like that would fit nicely into a beer themed gift basket. You can spend as much or as little as you like on a beer gift basket, but it’s something personal that I think a craft beer drinker would appreciate.
Gift certificates are something either people love (me) or hate (my wife). Although, I think when it comes to beer, it really is a great idea. As I mentioned in the opening… you may not know what kind of beer the person you are buying for likes or you may want to allow them to choose for themselves. Get them a gift certificate to a bottle shop or brewery. I’m pretty sure all the local places have gift certificates readily available if you go in. World of Beer, Busy Bee/Trophy and Triangle Wine Company even sell gift certificates online.
I know this sounds weird, but it’s something that I’m going to be asking for from my wife for Christmas. I have really been wanting to take a beer trip to Vermont. I want to go there with my brother and some friends to visit “Beer Heaven” so that I can buy beer from The Alchemist, Hill Farmstead, Lawson’s Finest Liquids and others. In my opinion this destination should be on every craft beer drinker’s bucket list. I just want to be able to go for a long weekend without being in trouble… that’s it. Maybe Vermont is too expensive for you? That’s ok… maybe a trip to Asheville is more in your price range (See my Asheville Beer Guide for a list of places to go). Or maybe it’s permission to spend a full day touring breweries around town. I’m sure someone offering their services as DD would also be a great gift! Permission can be a great thing that keeps you out of trouble. Keep your fingers crossed for me (and if my wife wants to throw in a few gift certificates to Vermont Breweries, I’d enjoy that as well).
Hopefully this list has given you some good gift ideas for your craft beer drinker… Please comment below if you have any other gift ideas you want to share.