It’s that time of year again, with the holidays coming up quick I’m sure some of you are starting to think about shopping for your friends and family. I’m sure you have a good plan for your Black Friday shopping and an idea for almost everyone on your list, but maybe you have someone on that list like me, I’m a beer guy. As a beer guy I can tell you that the 365 days of cuddly kitties desk calendar isn’t really for me, and thanks Grandma the new socks are thoughtful but I still haven’t opened last year’s package, and don’t get me started on the sweaters. So how do you shop for the beer person on your list?
Let’s start small and work our way up, one of the most fun things to do on Christmas morning is open your stocking, but shopping for stocking stuffers can be a real pain, here are a few ideas.
One good place to start is to hop online and search, if you Google the words “Beer” and “Etsy” together you’ll find a ton of interesting gift ideas from bottle cap jewelry to beer soap. Magazine subscriptions are an easy gift, Beer Advocate for the beer lover or Brew Your Own for the homebrewer. You could always get that homebrewer a membership in the American Homebrewers Association. Can cozies, glassware, personalized coasters, there are a lot of options out there.
Bottle openers, every beer drinker needs one and if they are like me they constantly misplace them, these are ready made stocking stuffers, they are usually small and come in all sorts of unique styles, from the larger bartender type to key rings, flat credit card sized wallet openers and even bottle opener rings.
Tasting books, you can go out and buy a nice pocket sized leather-bound journal or you can pick up some that are designed for beer tasting notes. I recently got a 33 Bottles beer tasting notebook and I love it, it’s small enough to fit in my pocket when I head to the bar but every page is designed to collect all the information I want to remember about the new beer I tried. Add a nice pen in the stocking to compliment this gift.
Gift Cards, this is probably the easiest gift you can get, it shows you care and they get to buy exactly what they want, for the beer lover in your life I would suggest picking up a gift card at the bottle shop, Bangor wine and Cheese or the Wine Cellar in Bangor, the Bier Cellar in Portland, trust me they will not be disappointed. If they like to go out and try beer you can pick one up at the beer bar, Nocturnem in Bangor, Lions Pride in Brunswick or Novare Res in Portland, these places always have amazing beers on tap and the selection is always changing. For the homebrewer visit Central Street Farmhouse in Bangor. If your beer lover is a fan of touring breweries and sampling beers right at the source consider picking up a gift card from the Maine Brew Bus in Portland, let them enjoy the tour and the samples without worrying about driving from place to place.
Now that you’ve filled the stocking let’s look under the tree. The most obvious gift you can get for your Beer lover is Beer, simple as that. Take a trip to the local bottle shop and make a mix-a-six, if you are unsure about what to pick ask the person working at the shop, you’ll find they are very helpful and happy to help. Maybe you don’t want to go to the bottle shop, take a look at the grocery store, you can find seasonal twelve pack samplers that would wrap up nice; just don’t let them shake that gift. The other option you have is to enroll them in a beer club, Bangor Wine and Cheese has one and Bier Cellar in Portland is starting one this November, what could be better than a six pack once a month?
Books always make a good gift for a beer lover; there are plenty of options out there from beer travel to beet tasting and homebrewing. I own plenty of beer books and I’m always happy to get more. For the homebrewer I recommend The Complete Joy of Homebrewing, it’s an excellent reference that they will use every time they brew. Radical Brewing by Randy Mosher is a super interesting and informative book that will inspire them to try new things, trust me it’s the reason I attempted making Kvass. Beer travel books are tough because they are generally very location specific, I would recommend Beer Lovers New England by Norman Miller, it’s full of information about New England breweries, beer bars and brewpubs and even has maps for popular pub crawls. Another favorite of mine is Brewed Awakening by Joshua Bernstein, this is a fun read and I’d recommend it to anyone interested in craft beer. Just take a look at your options; there are a lot of excellent beer related books out there.
Clothing, Yeah no ugly sweaters or packages of socks here, we’re talking beer gear. Find out what your beer lovers favorite brewery is and hop online or shoot over to the brewery if you’re close, they will love a new t-shirt or hat. Another great option is LiveMe, Maine inspired apparel. These guys nailed it when they started putting out BeerME shirts and hoodies, and they just recently released BeerME flex fit hats, one of those will find its way onto my letter to Santa.
For the homebrewer head over to the Homebrew shop, Central Street Farmhouse in Bangor has an excellent selection of brewing equipment, ingredients, books, kits. Have a chat with whoever is working; they can help you pick out just the right gift to fit your homebrewers level. If you really want to personalize a gift ask them to help you customize an ingredients kit, then give it a funky name that the recipient will appreciate, it’ll be fun knowing they are brewing a beer you helped put together and nobody else will be making Sexy Elf Stout.
Then there’s the big one, the gift every beer lover wants, the Kegerator. I don’t think I really need to explain this one, just trust me here, if we don’t have one, we want one.
Well that’s it; I hope this helps you put a check mark next to the name of that beer lover on your list. There are plenty of options online but I encourage you to go out and checkout your local bottle shop or homebrew supply, talk to the people working, they have those jobs because they are knowledgeable and trust me they will be friendly and helpful.
Good luck and happy shopping!