Surely everybody has one craft beer lover on their list to buy for this year? But while it may seem logical to just buy them some beer to feed their need for Santa’s reward system, I’m here to say that often that’s the wrong move. You see craft beer lovers can often be a fickle and picky bunch. They know what they like and an outsider just grabbing beers off the shelf to gift them might be a waste of money. There aren’t a lot of things more sad than a Christmas gift poured down the sink, so here are some gift ideas to get the craft beer lover in your life.
* Beer Nerd: A Beer Tasting Trivia Game is a board game where players roll the die and move around the game board as they test their knowledge of beer.
* A lot of really good books on the craft beer industry have come out in the last few years if your beer lover is also a reader. I’ll recommend a few to get your started: “So You Want to Start a Brewery?: The Lagunitas Story” by Tony Magee, “Brewing Up a Business: Adventures in Beer from the Founder of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery” by Sam Calagione, “Beyond the Pale: The Story of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.” by Ken Grossman, “Diary of a Part-Time Monk by J. Wilson and Goodnight Brew: A Parody for Beer People” by Karla Oceanak.
* The movie “Beer Wars” is an interesting documentary on the beer industry, available on DVD.
* Back to the reading theme, how about a magazine subscription from one of the fine publications on craft beer out there, like All About Beer, Draft Magazine, Craft Beer and Brewing Magazine and The Beer Connoisseur Magazine.
* If they’ve shown an interest in getting into homebrewing their own beer, I’d suggest maybe a homebrew starter kit from one of our great local stores: The Water Buffalo in West Little Rock and Fermentables in North Little Rock. Both places can point you in the right direction of things you’ll need to get them going, or of course a gift card could be very useful. I’d recommend the excellent book “Complete Joy of Homebrewing” by Charlie Papazian as well.
* A membership in the Microbrewed Beer Of The Month Club is something I’ve had for many years and still enjoy. It’s a monthly mailing of a dozen 12-oz. bottles of hand-crafted beers (4 different) each month for about $40 a month. Truly a gift that keeps on giving.
* The TV show Brew Masters only last for 5 episodes, but I thought it was great. It follows Sam Calagione, craft beer maestro, and his team at Dogfish Head Brewery and it’s out on DVD now for around $10-15.
* A membership in the Beer T-shirt Of The Month Club provides a monthly limited-production T-shirt from some of the most well-known craft breweries around the globe for around $20 a month.
* Growler sales were approved in Arkansas this year at liquor stores, and growlers themselves are a great gift. It’s simply a glass jug that carries a half-gallon of beer but some can get rather extravagant with clampdown ceramic tops or designs on the glass. I personally love my insulated stainless steel 64-oz growler. Shop around the local liquor stores or online for a wide variety. Throw in a gift card from the liquor store for their first fill!
* No longer content to just chug from mugs, the glasswear that beer drinkers use has become a thing this year. Shop around for some great beer glass sets with pint glasses, pilsner glasses, snifters, chalice, mugs, tulips or sample size tasters.
I hope I’ve given you some good ideas somewhere in here, but if not I would always fall back on the trusty gift card from local liquor stores or brewery tap rooms. Most breweries now have a bevy of merchandise like shirts, hats, glasses, signs and more or the gift cards can be used to fill that great growler you just got them. If none of these things work for you, look around for craft beer soaps, candy, dog treats, desk calendars, Jelly Beans (my favorite!), beer scented candles, hot saucer, shampoo and of course, beer mustard. Or if you really love them how about a Kegerator ($400-600) or a guided trip to Oktoberfest in Munich ($2,500)?
There’s definitely no shortage of gifts to choose from for the beer lovers.