Since today is the first day back to work for many after the long holiday weekend and is also what many have now come to call “Cyber Monday“, I thought it would be fitting to write up a fun post to get you in the holiday spirit. And one which would hopefully prove helpful to some. Without further adieu, here are (only in some sort of order; it’s not exact) the Top 10 Holiday Gifts for the Beer Lovers in Your Life:
10. Cornhole Sets
I’m not a huge fan of most drinking games. Sure they can be fun, but they more often than not require guzzling, not savoring, large quantities of mediocre beer. And I’m obviously an advocate of quality over quantity. One game which I do love, though, and which goes great with a good brew (since there’s no need to rush your drinking while you play) is Cornhole. Amazon has a great Cornhole Holiday Gift Set which includes everything you need to play cornhole, including your choice of white or natural finished cornhole boards, 8 regulation cornhole bags, cornhole scoreboards, board and bag carrying tote bags, and 2 drink coozies.
9. Beer of the Month Clubs and Beer Gift Baskets
More often than not, these clubs and gift baskets are kind of a crapshoot in terms of what beers you’ll get with your order. But lately, with the continued increase in attention craft beer has been receiving from the mainstream world, clubs and gift baskets have been getting better and better with their offers. They know that a bottle of Bass Ale no longer passes as “gourmet”. If these are gifts you’re considering, check out the Beer of the Month Club from the original Craft Beer Club and the Craft Beer Gift Basket from GiftTree.com.
8. Craft Beer Clothing
There are some great options out there to clothe the beer fan in your life. Most every brewery has at least a decent collection of threads, often on their website. Or check out our selection of beer shirts and get that beer lover in your life something that they can wear everyday.
7. A Brewer’s Weekend
Here in New England (and probably elsewhere in the country but I don’t know about them personally ) there are a few options for so-called “Brewer’s Weekends” which include weekend stays at inns which double as breweries and include a brewer’s dinner, hands-on brewing experiences and, well, a whole lot of beer in general. Local examples: The Woodstock Inn in N. Woodstock, NH, which has packages ranging in cost from $200 to $300 for the weekend; and The Norwich Inn in Norwich, VT, which doubles as a brewpub. Rates are $70-$150 a night, not including beer and food.
6. Beer Magazine Subscriptions
Mutineer Magazine, Beer Advocate magazine, All About Beer, Draft Magazine, Beer, Brew Your Own, Zymurgy — the official magazine of the American Homebrewers’ Association — and Beers of the World; the list goes on. But needless to say, there are lots of beer magazine subscriptions out there to satisfy your monthly need for fresh written words on the world of craft brew.
5. A Kegerator
There are great sites out there — including KegWorks.com and Kegerators.com — which offer lots of options, from conversion kits (to make better use of that ugly old fridge sitting in your garage) to single or multi-tap pre-made kegerators. If you know someone whose been homebrewing for awhile and is finally ready to make the leap from bottles to kegging, nothing says “I love you AND your beer” like a new kegerator.
Oneshare.com offers single shares of stock in many big name national brands (from Apple Computers to Krispy Kreme to Playboy) including the largest American-owned brewery, The Boston Beer Co. (makers of Sam Adams) who thankfully still produce some great beers of their own. Why not show a loved one you care with a custom-framed stock certificate (The scrollwork on the Boston Beer Stock Certificate is uniquely etched with pictures of barley and hops) signed by Jim Koch. Use coupon code TENPERCENT for 10% off stock.
3. Beer Books
The list of great beer books out there which every beer fan should own is almost never-ending (and constantly expanding), but some must-haves for every Christmas stocking are The Brewmaster’s Table by Brooklyn Brewing’s own Garrett Oliver; He Said Beer, She Said Wine by Marnie Old and Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head; The Beer Book (Hardcover); Tasting Beer: An Insider’s Guide to the World’s Greatest Drink (Paperback); The Naked Pint: An Unadulterated Guide to Craft Beer; for the entrepreneurs on your list, Brewing Up a Business and Beer School: Bottling Success at the Brooklyn Brewery; and any number of homebrewing books, including How to Brew, The Complete Joy of Homebrewing, and Brew Like a Monk.
When all else fails, there really is no gift better than a bottle of beer itself. If you’re traveling for the holidays, maybe bring a bottle of beer your family can’t get in their home state or pick up a bottle otherwise outside of your price range for a rare holiday treat. And remember just how important pairing beer with your holiday meals is. A nice bottle of beer is “the new wine” when it comes to housewarming presents and holiday get-togethers.
1. Homebrew Supplies
In my humble opinion, the single best beer-related gift you can get someone this holiday season is homebrew supplies. A homebrew starter kit and one of the how-to books above if the recipient has never brewed before, or a new supply kit or even gift certificate if you know a homebrewer. I have long maintained that nothing gets someone into beer, into appreciating better beer like knowing what it takes to brew your own. If you don’t have a local homebrew supply shop you can buy from, I’d definitely recommend the homebrew kits from Midwest Supplies.
Happy holidays and happy (beer) shopping! What would you add to the list?