If you’re reading this, I can’t be the only beer lover in your life. So I’m here to help you select some gifts for you or someone you know this holiday season.
Usually, I’m a last-minute Christmas shopper. I tend to think about Christmas gifts a couple of weeks before Santa arrives. However, in the age of Bare-Shelf Biden, when all the world’s goods are made in slave labor camps in communist China, and those goods are stuck in container ships off the coast of Los Angeles waiting to get into a barely functioning port on their way to you, shopping this year could be different.
So here, two months ahead of Christmas, are seven great beer-themed gifts for you or your loved ones this Christmas.
1. The Yeti Colster Can Cooler
If you’re drinking beer outside at a fall event, like a football tailgate, roasting s’mores around a fire pit or even just your kid’s mind-numbing soccer game, you need a way to keep that can cool. Thankfully modern technology has blessed us with the Yeti can cooler.
This is much more than that old foam sock thing you used to put on your can. It’s essentially a can-shaped cooler that insulates your drink to keep it cool no matter what’s going on around you.
Starting at just $25, you can get Yeti Colsters for the typical 12-ounce cans or even those tall boys. They come in myriad colors and you can even customize them with engravings and more. I have one of these that I keep handy all the time. It’s the perfect, cheap gift for any beer lover.
2. The Pelican Cooler Sling
If your beer lover likes to spend the weekend hitting up his favorite local breweries’ special beer release parties, nothing is better for keeping those special beers cold while you’re in line than the Pelican Dayventure Sling Soft Cooler. This is essentially a cooler in the shape of a duffle bag.
With the optional reusable ice pack shaped to fit the cooler, these bad boys can keep at least 12 cans of beer cold while you tour the brewery, or in your car between stops. It’s also incredibly easy to carry with a padded shoulder strap and sturdy handle. It’s also good for family picnics, tailgating, or flag football games.
3. A Growler for To-Go Beer
Many bars, breweries and even coffee shops will sell you beer by the growler. All you have to do is provide the vessel. These range in price from $20 to well more than $200, and can come in glass, or metal, with various tops that may even include a keg tap and carbonation system.
Pre-pandemic, a coffee shop near my house hosted regular beer club meetings. At the end of the night, you could buy any of the beers you had been tasting in a growler and take it home. I have something like this DrinkTanks 64-ounce Travel Keg.
You can get it with or without the Keg Cap. Either way, it will keep your to-go beer in a stainless steel, double-walled container in the fridge so you can enjoy that special-release beer. This is a must-have gift for the brewery hound.
4. Quality Beer Glasses
Although it may be easiest to drink your beer straight out of the can or bottle, if you really want to enjoy your beer, you should be drinking it out of a glass, and the proper glass no less. Spiegelau makes a full range of beautiful glasses for every type of beer imaginable. You’ve seen their special IPA glass in many of my pictures in this very column.
If the beer lover in your life is still drinking out of that cheap, scratched-up mug he’s been using for years, this gift will make a world of difference.
These are available in sets at places like Amazon, Riedel, or even some high-quality liquor stores. You can also find individual glasses at places like William Sonoma or Crate and Barrel. Pro tip: Hand wash these with care and they’ll last you a lifetime.
5. A Special Etched Beer Glass
Now, maybe your beer lover already has that fancy IPA glass and a growler, but you’re looking for something unique to give him. Look no further than the City Maps Glassware from Well Told. This is a series of glasses (wine, cocktail, beer) that come with maps of cities etched into the side of the glass. Someone gave me one of these a few years ago, and it’s my go-to glass for casually drinking beer during a football game on Saturdays.
These glasses are sturdy, dishwasher safe, and come etched with maps from places like New York City, Washington, DC, Austin, Chicago, Los Angeles, Denver, and many, many more. They even offer custom etching if your city isn’t currently available. This really is a standout gift for the beer lover who has everything.
6. The Complete Beer Course
Let’s be honest, beer can get complicated these days, and what better way to demystify it than with this great book. “The Complete Beer Course: Boot Camp for Beer Geeks” will take you from an average Joe to beer connoisseur in 12 tasting classes. It’s a great tome and occupies a prominent place on my own bookshelf.
This book will help you understand what makes each style of beer unique, the difference between lagers and ales, why IPAs are bitter, and so much more. This is the ultimate book for the favorite beer nerd in your life.
You can get it online at Amazon, but just in case it gets stuck in a cargo terminal, you can also find this book at Barnes and Noble next time you’re at the mall, or many locally owned independent book stores.
7. Hops and Glory
Today’s most popular craft beer style, the IPA, has a rich and fascinating history, and “Hops and Glory: One Man’s Search for the Beer That Built the British Empire” by Pete Brown tells that amazing tale. Part adventure, part education, this is a page turner that your beer lover won’t be able to put down. It’s a tale full of comedy, drama, and of course beer!
If you can’t find the old-school physical edition of this great book, be sure to order the audio version for the beer lover on your Christmas list.