Some Crafty Ideas for Your Christmas Gift List

For BeerNexus.com


There are some of us who are really organized and have picked out and bought our
holiday gifts already and it’s just a matter of wrapping. Ah but many of us
procrastinate as we don’t know what the best gift is or are waiting for the bonus
check or just continue to do what we did in high school, which was write the paper the
night before it’s due, i.e. shop at the last minute. Since there are still a few weeks to
go I thought, for those of you in need of some ideas for the craft beer lover on your
list, I would throw out some suggestions to make your shopping a little easier; not to
mention the great feeling you’ll have when they open your present and are duly
impressed with your thoughtfulness and ingenuity.

Maybe we should start with the opposite end of the spectrum; what you shouldn’t be
giving. Number One would be that six pack of craft beers in the colorful carton that
appear in the stores every year at the holidays. Years ago before the huge increase
in breweries you could find a few interesting beers in these, but nowadays you’ll
probably see beers that didn’t sell and sat on the shelves and are now being
packaged to unload; on you. And with today’s increased attention on freshness this
is one of the last things you want. I don’t want to put the Beer of the month club in the
same category as I have had it and you can find some different and interesting craft
beers but you get three of each, so if the recipient doesn’t really like it they have two
more to suffer through or give to others or worse yet share with you.

Numbers Two, Three and Four on what not to get is beer glasses, soft koozies and
key chain openers. I remember the days when I used to buy a glass at a brewery.
Nowadays I’ve gotten tons of glasses at tap takeovers and since you can’t keep em
all have also unloaded dozens. My rule is pretty much if I want to keep it another
goes. So why would you waste your money and give someone a glass that maybe
they don’t want to add to their collection? Now there could be an exception if that
person has a special beer or brewery and you come across a special glass that you
know they would really like, but I’m thinking those odds are slim. I also have a stack of
those soft koozies from all different breweries which work great and take up no space
so are easy to store, but are also typical tap takeover handouts so a dime a dozen.  
And brewery key chain openers are also plentiful now; how many sets of keys do
most of us have? I have a drawer full of them; luckily they don’t take up much space.

Something else on the not so great idea would be to take a picture of yourself with a
big smile having a really great, somewhat rare beer like a Pliny The Elder or a
Founders CBS – Canadian Breakfast Stout or a Goose Island BCBS – Bourbon
County Barrel Stout or a Sam Adams Utopia. Then sign, date and frame it so they
can look at you enjoying a great beer; now that’s a thoughtful gift…NOT.

Okay let’s move on to some more positive ideas. A very seasonal item is beer
ornaments for the tree. There are many cute little ornaments in the shape of a bottle,
keg, six pack, growler, foamy mug, hops, etc. or even a string of beer bottle lights.
Now most are more generically beer as opposed to specifically craft beer, but that’s
okay. Again these are seasonal items that most will typically use for only about a
month during the year, although a real beer geek may just string them up somewhere
for year round enjoyment.

Some craft breweries will put out some seasonal and/or branded items such as New
Belgium which has Fat Tire bottle cap earrings and I’m sure if you search you’ll find
other interesting items at different craft breweries. Now whatever you do stay away
from the Crudweiser and Heineken stuff, of which I’ve seen way too much.

One of the most popular items is clothing and the number one would be t-shirts. I’m
not talking a basic tee with a craft beer logo or a beer bar on it, although that could
be an option for a specific person with a really favorite craft brewery, beer or bar.
They do make a lot of tees with very catchy phrasing (check out some of the pics to
the left) on that attract attention and smiles. I have a few so I can attest to that. And
of course if your gift is for a female craft beer lover there are Beer Goddess tees (if
she qualifies of course)! The number two item must be the baseball cap; again you’re
pretty much limited to specific breweries or beers. But you’re not necessarily out of
clothing options yet; there are craft beer socks, ties, knit caps and yes even skirts
and who knows what else.

Then there is the whole “personalization” route. A set of personalized pint glasses for
someone who doesn’t already have too many glasses. Better yet a personalized
growler for the craft beer lover who likes to visit breweries and bring home some
suds. And you can upscale that one by including a carrier, in case maybe they’re
filling more than one and be able to more easily transport them. There are many
types of home bar signs and plaques that can be nicely personalized and be very
unique. But if you’re thinking of getting something personalized you better move
quick as they usually take time.

For the grill master there are some interesting aprons, although I think the most
unique is the one that has slots and pockets for accessories, some of which include
holding your beer cans! For the non-grill master there’s the holster so they can carry
around their beer without having to constantly be putting it down and picking it up to
free up a hand. And for the biker there’s the carrier for the bike…not sure what the
biking and drinking laws might be though.

For the reader there’s an array of books from home brewing to styles of beer to
autobiographies (like the Jim Koch book I reviewed last month) to tasting to the
history of to cooking to well I’m sure there are some other topics I missed. Related
are of course beer calendars, where you can read about a different beer a day,
although the odds you’ll ever to get to taste more than a few a slim.

Maybe none of the above really fits and you just want to keep it simple. There’s
always a gift card to a favorite bar or restaurant so they can enjoy one on you.
If you have a NEIPA friend you really want to surprise maybe you take a trip to The
Other Half in Brooklyn or if you really want to travel Tree House in Charlton, MA or
Trillium in Canton, MA or The Alchemist in Stowe, VT or Maine Beer in Freeport, ME
and pick up some of their freshly canned delicious hazy, juicy IPAs (makes me thirsty
just thinking about it). Of course this needs to be a last minute trip as the whole point
is get some of the freshest beer they make.

And don’t forget the stocking stuffers! Okay here’s where you can throw in a key
chain opener or maybe some draft beer jelly belly beans or a How Beer Saved The
World DVD or better yet a WC Fields The Fatal Glass of Beer DVD (if you’ve never
seen it, it’s worth a watch but remember we’re talking 1933 here…). If perchance you
have a roommate who can’t quite remember who’s beer is who’s in the frig you can
get a frig magnet to help remind them, and save some of your beer in the process.
Okay so get going, get on the Internet and begin searching and see what pops up.
And of course check out the merchandise available when you’re stopping at a craft
brewery; that’s almost like mixing business with pleasure. I’m sure you’ll find some
things I haven’t thought to mention.

And my last suggestion; a subscription to BeerNexus so they can read my (and other
highly inebriated…err influential) writers expound on the wonderful world of craft
beer. Clearly a well thought through idea as a last minute, I have no more money to
spend on gifts idea, as we’re on the internet and the subscription fee is a fairly
nominal zero, nada, nothing. But it is the gift that keeps giving, every month as we
wind our way through the ever intriguing world of craft beer each month.

Happy craft beer merchandise shopping and of course you’ll need to reward yourself
after a successful search and enjoy the taste of a great craft!

Happy Holidays from the BeerNexus Team!



Glenn DeLuca writes about beer and culture of drinking. He may
be reached by writing thebigG@beernexus.com.

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