HOOPS ON HOPS: A holiday beer gift guide

HOOPS ON HOPS: A holiday beer gift guide

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. I am an unabashed lover of this time of the year, and luckily, I was asked to provide some holiday gift ideas for the craft beer lover on your list. It has never been a better time for craft beer, so there are hundreds of cool gift ideas out there. Let’s get started.

• Beer of the month club. A simple internet search will yield dozens of options that ship right to your door. Some will deliver only pilsners, others offer “rare only” selections. You can find Minnesota-centric packages, or imports only featuring foreign beers. It’s a great place to start and arguably the best gift idea there is.

• Beer T-shirt of the month club. Just like it sounds, a T-shirt will show up in the mail every month. Some outfits even offer a six-pack of the T-shirt’s beer.

• Gift cards. This standby is as simple as it gets. Every local brewery sports cards, and the gifter can mix and match or go big for their favorite place. I must plug my friends at Duluth Homebrew Supply in Fitger’s. Any homebrewer on your list would love a GC from the shop.

• Beer tourism. This trend is fun, from local outfits like the Duluth Experience to national or international trips from Draft magazine or companies like beertrips.com. These companies create memorable experiences highlighting beer, travel, local flavor and education that are second to none.

• Beer foods. There are many good choices here: Sierra Nevada Stout & Stoneground mustard, beer nuts, beer bread mixes, also bockwurst weisswurst sausages, beer pretzels … just to name a few.

• Beer books. Probably my favorite. I have a very large library of beer books that I intend on adding to for the rest of my days. A search on Amazon under “beer books” nets about 71,472 results, that’s one way to go. I recommend visiting brewersassociation.org, I’ve mentioned this outfit before. They’re the education arm of American brewing and offer hundreds of amazing books, wearables, trinkets and cool stuff about beer for your gifting needs.

• Home beer dispenser. A mini-keg or kegerator, either of these would be a dream of many a beer drinker. The kegerator is a refrigerator that holds a keg of beer and sports a tap for pint pouring. You can find these at major retail stores and online. Kegs can be purchased with a deposit at local liquor stores. Another cool option is called the BeerTender from Krups. This unit receives 5-liter kegs, which equals about 14 cans of beer. It is a compact easy-to-use draft system that is affordable. Many breweries offer their beer in the popular small 5-liter keg, this is a fun way to serve beer on tap at home for a considerable discount.

• Beer glassware and steins. Beer glasses are highly collectable, and different glasses that brand the beer or highlight a shape that helps the aroma and look of the beer have been produced for hundreds of years. A set of glasses produced to highlight the favorite style of your giftee is a classy move for sure.

• Beer videos. There are thousands of cds, videos and streaming films about beer available. Search a beer topic that you think will interest your beer lover and purchase. In my opinion, the greatest beer video ever produced is “The Beer Hunter,” by famous beer writer Michael Jackson. This three-volume edition produced by the Discovery Channel is rare and sought-after. I highly recommend it, and I dare say your beer lover will see you as a hero if you can find it.

• Beer lifestyle magazine subscription. With the growth of craft beer, there are many worthy publications. My picks: The Growler, Draft, All about Beer, The Celebrator, Beer Advocate, Zymurgy, Beer Connoisseur

• Beer movies. Another of my favorites. Here are my choices in no particular order: “Strange Brew,” “Beerfest,” “Smokey and the Bandit,” “Drinking Buddies,” “Beer Wars,” “Beer,” “Crafting a Nation,” “Young Einstein.”

• Beer festival tickets. Pre-purchasing tickets to a local fest for your beer lover will be very popular. My choice is a pass from the Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild for the three annual festivals they sponsor, they also have a sweet swag shop with lots of Minnesota themed beer stuff.

• Pie and beer. This last recommendation is personal and maybe weird. I love beer and pie, and I like to think your beer loving giftee may as well. Some of my favorites, apple pie and pale ale, cherry pie and light lager, pumpkin pie and Irish stout.

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