Hoops on Hops: A holiday gift guide for beer lovers
It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and there’s a lot of fun to be had in searching out great gift ideas for the beer fan on your list. Let’s take a look at some.
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 also 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. Many breweries now offer a crowler of the month club as well, with 3-6 options.
Beer T-shirt of the month club. Just as 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 gift-giver can mix and match or go big for their brewery of choice.
Beer tourism. The Duluth Experience is really the go-to here. They have been an early adopter, and they offer many platforms to enjoy. Check out their website, theduluthexperience.com .
Beer foods. There are many good choices here: Sierra Nevada Stout & Stone Ground mustard, beer nuts, beer bread mixes, also bockwurst and weisswurst sausages, beer pretzels and more.
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 88,484 results; that’s one way to go. I recommend visiting the Brewers Association’s website, brewerspublications.com . 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. Either a mini-keg or kegerator 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 5-liter keg. It's a fun way to serve beer on tap at home for a considerable discount.
Beer videos. There are thousands of DVDs and streaming videos about beer. Search a beer topic that you think will interest your beer lover. In my opinion, the greatest beer video ever produced is The Beer Hunter , by the famous beer writer Michael Jackson . This three-volume edition produced by the Discovery Channel is quite rare and highly 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 movies — another of my favorites. Here are my choices in no particular order: "Strange Brew," "Beerfest," "Smoky & the Bandit," "Drinking Buddies," "Beer Wars," "Beer," "Crafting a Nation," "Young Einstein," "Kings of Beer," and of course "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy, as they enjoy beer in all three movies.
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 MN Craft Brewers Guild for the three annual festivals they sponsor. They also have a sweet swag shop with lots of Minnesota-themed beer stuff.
Happy holidays, everyone! I hope Santa brings you what you wish for.
Dave Hoops lives and works in Duluth and is a veteran brewer and beer judge. Contact him at email@example.com.