As the holidays near, chances are you’re going to have to buy a gift for the malt-loving hophead in your life. It might be your dad, who’s been getting you sweet gifts since day one and to whom you owe so much of your success. Or it might be the new guy at the office whose name is Steve…or Dave…or something like that.
We’ve compiled a list of great gifts for the craft beer enthusiast closest to your heart, with a frugal alternative for each one for anyone on a tighter budget.
This is really the holy grail of beer gifts – it’s the gift that keeps on giving! What could be better than giving your loved one the ability to produce as much customized beer as they want? Depending on how crafty and science-minded your recipient is, choose a kit that is either for extract brewing (easier, less custom) or all-grain brewing (harder, more custom).
A great gift option for a craft beer lover is a beer that is so expensive they might have a hard time justifying spending the money on themselves. Perfect example: Cascade Brewery. This Portland brewery lovingly hand makes sour beers that can take two years or longer to barrel age before they are released to the public. Bottles (750 mL) typically retail in Canada in the $40-$50 range at fine liquor stores such as Legacy Liquor Store and Brewery Creek.
Budget version: A really big beer. A mini-keg of passable beer like Wychwood looks impressive, won’t break the bank, and will surely be appreciated when all of the Westvleteren XII runs out.
Never has a more comprehensive tome been composed on the topic of beer. Edited by craft beer pioneer Garrett Oliver and featuring entries from a broad spectrum of beer writers, this encyclopedia is essential reference material for the most hardcore pint slurper you know.
Budget Version: Hops and Glory by Pete Brown. This paperback looks at the history of the beer largely responsible for the North American craft beer revolution, India Pale Ale. It’s a solid read that will help any self-respecting bar dweller hold their own on trivia night.
I have been on two kinds of international travel: the trip where I write down every beer that I try and return happy and fulfilled, and the trip where I fail to do so and live the remainder of my life filled with regret. Don’t let your loved ones make the same mistake. This locally handmade passport wallet and notebook (with pen!) is a luxury, analog daydream and will look so classy in an English pub next to a rare bitter from the Midlands.
Budget version: Moleskine Beer Journal. Same analog convenience, much lower price.
For the brewery goer who has everything, a pressurized growler is an opulent way to get a bit tipsy. Carbon dioxide gas injection keeps beer fresh, vacuum insulation keeps it cold, and a classic-style tap lets your favourite beer drinker pour pub pints in the comfort of their own home. The 1 gallon, copper-plated version is basically a Rolls Royce for beer.
Budget version: Sigil and Growler custom growler. Starting at $45, these high-quality growlers can be customized with whatever text or graphic applies to the target of your affection. I have one and it’s great!