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Shopping for your suds-loving friend? A case of craft beer is always a welcome gift, but consider getting something that will last them long past the final sip. With the help of brewmasters, bartenders and other experts, we found the best gifts for the beer lovers in your life. Think home brewing kits, craft beer club subscriptions and brewer-approved tumblers. Read on for the best expert-approved gifts for your favorite beer enthusiast...and that could be you!
Best Overall: Northern Brewer Homebrewing Kit
“A really well-composed homebrew kit would be a great gift for someone who loves beer,” says Rob Capitelli, brewmaster at Blue Point Brewing Co. “Learning the creation process can make a beer drinker even more passionate."
Jon Boer, head innovation brewer at New Holland Brewing, agrees. “Homebrewing is a great hobby and really is the first step into becoming a life-long craft beer fan."
Northern Brewer’s Homebrewing Starter Kit is one of the top options on the market. Each kit comes with everything you need to brew authentic craft beers at home, including an IPA ingredient pack, a bubbler, tubing, bottle filler, brewery cleaners, and enough bottles and caps for 12 beer bottles and two carriers.
Related: The Best Home Brewing Kits
Best for History Buffs: A History of the World in 6 Glasses by Tom Standage
This book is both a crash course on world history and the history of beverages (including beer, wine, spirits, coffee, tea and Coca-Cola), sharing the story of humanity through the perspective of these drinks. All in all, Standage does an excellent job of weaving in historical facts with spirited storytelling, making this a must-read for every drinker.
“My personal favorite beer book is 'A History of the World in 6 Glasses' by Tom Standage. It explores the anthropology of beer (along with some other beverages) and explains why the advent of beer may have led to the creation of civilization.”
Best Budget: Twang Beer Salt
Aaron Peña, owner and bartender of The Squeezebox in Texas, has always loved Twang Beer Salts. "Twang is extra special to me because I grew up in the South Side of San Antonio eating their salts and seasonings, like Twangerz, as a kid. Nowadays, I have their drink products behind my bar.” He uses the flavored salt as a rim for Micheladas or adds a pinch to elevate light beers.
Four different flavors are available for every mood: Lemon-Lime, Lime, Hot Lime, and a Michelada-specific blend. The 1.4-ounce, pocket-sized bottles also make it easy to take to wherever you're headed.
Best Growler: Hydro Flask Growler
When it comes to beer growlers, Ian Fuller, director of brewer operations at Melvin Brewing, prefers "stainless steel insulated growlers above all others."
His personal favorite is this Hydro Flask option, a BPA- and phthalate-free growler with TempShield insulation that keeps beer chilled all day. Plus, a leak-proof seal with two interior threads keeps beers carbonated longer than most growler systems. Pop the growler in the dishwasher, or "clean with soapy water and a bottle brush," adds Fuller.
Related: The Best Beer Growlers
Best for Nature Lovers: BrüMate Hopsulator Cooler
“While we all know that the best way to enjoy a beer is to pour it into a proper beer glass, sometimes you just want to relax with some friends outside and sip beer at the optimum temperature,” says Yiga Miyashiro, director of brewery operations at Saint Archer Brewing Company. “With a well-insulated koozie, you're able to enjoy that temp from the first sip to the last sip.”
This one is far more complex than the standard foam koozie. Made with double-walled stainless steel and a copper layer finish, the BrüMate Hopsulator cooler securely holds both 12- and 16-ounce cans and keeps them chilled for hours. You can also use it to keep tea and coffee warm.
Best Personalized: Tervis Insulated Tumbler
“There is nothing worse than your beer getting hot,” says Brad Bierman, taproom manager of JDub’s Brewing Company. For warm-weather drinkers, he recommends this Tervis tumbler. Its durable, double-wall insulation keeps hot drinks warm and cold drinks chilled. The 24-ounce tumbler also cleans with ease and is microwave-, freezer- and dishwasher-safe.
Customize the tumbler with the brand’s selection of travel lids, straw lids, or removable shaker tops for pouring up beer cocktails. It's also available in a variety of colors including red, blue, purple, green and more.
Related: The Best Beer Glasses
Best Splurge: Outdoor Beer Table
“I personally love an outdoor beer table,” says Fuller. This table for two conveniently digs into any soft ground (think grass or sand) and holds two cans and a snack bowl—perfect for beach trips, bonfires or backyard hangs. The handmade Baltic birch and stainless steel table disassembles for easy transportation. Best of all, a built-in beer opener lets you crack bottles wherever you please.
The table stands 24.5 inches high, so you can pull up a beach chair next to it or use it as a drink rest while playing outdoor games. “It is great for camping, fishing, and whenever you just want to watch the grass grow,” adds Fuller.
Best Book: Tasting Beer by Randy Mosher
"I always recommend getting beer fans a book about beer to increase their knowledge,” advises cicerone Dan Shapiro. "' Tasting Beer' by Randy Mosher is the classic introduction to everything on beer, and reading through it will instantly up your game.”
Along with a series of illustrations and diagrams, this encyclopedic book touches on the history of brewing, how to discern an APA from an IPA, and how to identify different scents and flavors in beers. A section on serving beer and pairing foods is particularly useful for planning dinners and parties. From casual sippers to serious enthusiasts, this book is aimed at educating beer drinkers of all levels.
Best Decor: Beer Cap States
Shopping for a friend who loves trying local craft beers wherever they go? Help them track their drinking journey with the Beer Cap States. From brews in New York to IPAs in Iowa, these state-shaped boards hold bottle caps on for display. Made of Baltic birch plywood, the board has small teeth that perfectly fit the crimped edges of caps and make it easy to add and remove them. There are also extra holes to mount the board in any room.
This gift is particularly great for collectors: instead of storing bottle caps in drawers or jars, this board helps showcase their favorite beers.
Best Subscription: Craft Beer Club
Give the gift that keeps giving with a subscription to Craft Beer Club. Highlighting different microbreweries across the country, from Georgia to New York to Arizona, every shipment delivers 12 industry-loved craft beers for around $43 a month. The beers represent four different styles from two different breweries.
The shipment also includes a newsletter detailing who made the beers and how, as well as an interview with the owner and/or brewmaster. Plus, Craft Beer Club throws in a one-year subscription to Beer Connoisseur, custom koozies and a beer opener for free. Choose from a monthly, every-other-month or quarterly subscription.
Related: The Best Beers
Best for D.I.Y. Lovers: The Art of Fermentation by Sandor Katz
“Fermentations come in a wide variety of forms, so I love books that cover a broad range or that offer information on unique types of fermentation,” says Gabe Toth, the lead distiller at The Family Jones Distillery and former head brewer at Twisted Pine Brewing Co. and Santa Fe Brewing Co. “Even almost a decade after its first release, The Art of Fermentation by Sandor Katz offers an encyclopedic examination of the principles at work in various types of fermentations and is still an essential part of any fermentation library.”
The James Beard award-winning book provides a guide to a range of fermented products, from kombucha to mead to wine, cider, and sourdough. There are full illustrations, resources, and practical information, from safety parameters to preservation techniques.
Best Glassware: Made in Cookware Beer Glasses
Beer lovers of every style and level will absolutely benefit from a great glass. Made in Cookware has raised the bar, offering high-style, high-functioning glasses for beer enthusiasts. The glasses feature a long stem to keep your body heat away from your beer, a curved lip for optimal tasting, and an angled glass designed to let foam stack perfectly to enhance the flavor. The bowl is crafted to particularly capture aromas.
There are four glasses per order—perfect for happy hour with friends. It’s an ideal glass to have as your house option—it holds a generous 14 ounces, is lightweight, and is dishwasher safe for speedy cleanups.
Best for 90s Fans: Igloo Retro Fanny Pack
“Igloo is bringing back the fanny pack with a vengeance,” says Erik Norsen, the head brewer at Wagner Valley Brewing Co.
The retro-inflicted fanny pack comes in a slew of neon hues, from pink and green to red and blue. An adjustable waist strap ensures it fits snug on any size waist. There’s two compartments—one for smaller items (think keys and credit cards) in the front, and a larger insulated, leak-resistant beverage compartment.
“Toss yourself a four-pack of pounders and an ice pack into one of these 90s colored bad boys, and hit the trails,” says Norsen. “Keep your beers cool and in reach, so people know you mean business." It’s the ideal pack for the festival-lover or the beer lover who loves a park brew.
Good to Know: “My favorite idea as a gift to a beer drinker is to schedule/purchase a Brewery Tour with a $25 - 50.00 beer tab,” says Peter Kreinheder, the founder of Ellicottville Brewing Co.
Best for Budding Brewers: Inkbird Thermostat
“As a distiller who has applied my fermentation knowledge to foods and beverages for more than 15 years, I like to ferment a variety of products in different locations,” says Toth. “And I sometimes rely on a heated mat to make sure my fermentation doesn’t get too cold and go dormant. There are different sizes available, from carboy-sized mats that can keep my beer in the right range in the basement, to mats sized for gallon or smaller jars that will ferment kombucha, vinegar, or other foods. To really dial in a precise fermentation temperature, you can add a thermowell stopper paired with a temperature controller, like those made by Inkbird.”
A great set of glasses, like these options from Made in Cookware (view here), are an always-welcome option for gifting to the beer lover. Alternatively, opt for a book that will help build their knowledge, like The Art of Fermentation (view at Amazon) or Tasting Beer (view at Amazon).
How much lead time do you need to order gifts around the holidays?
With the sheer number of gifts being ordered around the world, shipping can lag around the holidays. Plan in advance, or opt for a quicker shipping option from websites like Amazon. Worst case scenario, order a gift card from your favorite local brewery.
Can you ship alcohol nationally/internationationally?
You personally cannot ship alcohol nationally, though you can order alcohol via retailers and ship to participating states. International shipment laws differ from country to country.
What's the return policy for most gifts?
Most retailers offer a 30-day return policy on gifts with a gift receipt. If it’s an item like beer, make sure you don’t crack it open!
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Kate Dingwall is an experienced spirits writer and glassware collector. She has been writing about the bar and spirits world for five years, including extensive coverage on beer and wine.