Well, folks, it’s that time of the year again. The halls have been decked, the bells are jinglin’, and once again you’ve found yourself saddled with the difficult task of buying gifts for craft beer nerds. While you can (and should) still gift these loved ones as much cold, delicious beer as your budget allows, we at Beer Dabbler understand that you may want to give these people a slightly less… consumable gift as well. In that spirit, we’ve created this Holiday Beer Gift Guide, which is full of awesome beer gifts for the taproom tippler in your life. Happy Holidays!
While a Beer Fridge is certainly a big-ticket gift worthy of only your dearest brew buddies or beaus, we would argue that it’s also one of the most essential accessories for any craft beer junkie enthusiast. A reliable beer fridge can serve as the anchor of your home bar and has the added benefit of allowing you to avoid potential kitchen fridge-related territorial conflicts with your significant other or roommates.
While any fridge can be a beer fridge, our favorites have a nice big window in the front to show off your loot, plus a variable temperature control because you’re going to want to keep your beer fridge a little warmer than your kitchen fridge. This beer-themed model from NewAir fits 126 standard-sized beer cans and has adjustable shelves to help you fit tallboys, Crowlers, and 750s.
Glassware Starter Pack
If your giftee is even halfway interested in beer then they’ve probably already accumulated plenty of shaker pints over the years, so let’s get them some glassware that actually enhances their tasting experience!
Spiegelau is a German glassware company whose pedigree dates back to the 16th century, which means they’ve had plenty of time to get real, real good at making drinking vessels. A few years back, their engineers teamed up with representatives from several major American breweries to create a line of craft beer glasses whose shapes help accentuate the nuances of specific beer styles. This tasting pack features their quirky and cool IPA glass, a bowl-shaped wheat glass, a tall and sturdy stout glass, and a classy and svelte “barrel-aged” glass that would also be perfect for sours. If your giftee is more of a lager-head, we’d opt for their “Classic Craft” set instead.
Take it from the son of a homebrewer, who says this with love: True homebrewers are almost impossible to shop for. The gadgets and gizmos that these domestic brewmeisters truly desire are so complex and inscrutable to the uninitiated that you’re better off just buying a gift card. That means that the ideal homebrew gift is a starter pack for somebody who’s interested in the hobby but hasn’t yet taken the leap into hydrometers and pH testers.
Northern Brewer has been a local institution for years and has probably kicked off the careers of countless Twin Cities brewers. Their recently released, limited-edition Fresh Squished starter pack is a handsomely appointed and comprehensive gift pack that also comes loaded with free online video brewing courses from Northern Brewer’s experts, giving your homebrewing neophyte everything they need to brew their own juicy IPA this winter.
SHOWER BEERS! SHOWER BEERS!
So far, our list has been full of big-ticket gifts, but what if you have a beer nut on your office’s Secret Santa list, or just want a little throw-in to go with your drinkable presents? Enter: The Sudski.
This cute lil’ silicone shower caddy sticks to just about any tile or glass surface and allows your giftee to enjoy the refreshing luxury of a shower beer without crowding their existing shower storage or risking the dreaded shampoo/beer cross-contamination. Plus, they’re easy to move and reposition for when judging eyeballs visit your home.
Drink holder stakes are the type of gift whose true usefulness reveals itself slowly over time. Sure, you could just use them around your firepit or outside of your ice-house, but there’s so much more potential here. Shoveling your driveway? Throw a stake down reward yourself with frequent sips. Playing boot hockey? Stake a couple of beers right next to the rink for easy access. Going for a snow-shoeing excursion? Bring some beer and use the stakes as walking poles—the possibilities are endless!
Fire Pit Fun
Caramelizing or “poking” beer is a German beer tradition that dates back centuries and is still a popular practice at winter beer festivals. Short metal rods are heated to roughly 600ºF and then inserted into the beer, instantly caramelizing its residual sugars and intensifying its malty, toasty characteristics.
The resulting flavor is so good it made us wonder: Why settle for only having poked beer once a year during bock season? That’s where the Wisconsin-based, woman-owned company 1517 Fahrenheit comes in. Their caramelizer rod comes with a tap handle-shaped grip and swappable shafts for larger groups. Plus, you can buy an expansion pack that comes with a heat-proof glove, a fire poker, and even an attachment for roasting marshmallows!
Given what we know about our ancestors’ drinking habits, you’d think it would be a lot easier to track down classic beer memorabilia (also known as breweriana), but the market is hotter than ever. Restorer-dealers like Barry Travis and Stevan Miner at IBuyOldBeer.com frequently sell through their inventory faster than they source it.
Your best bet for tracking down a gorgeous vintage beer sign or collectible historic can is to contact folks like Barry and Stevan and let them know what type of item you’re trying to source. If they don’t already have an item in the works that fits the bill, they’ll keep an eye out for you.
Beer passports make awesome gifts for adventurous taproom explorers that enjoy having an incentive to check out new watering holes and revisit old forgotten favorites. Both of the passes in our guide offer you a comped drink at several different breweries around the Twin Cities and beyond, as well as useful info about each location.
While both companies offer a great service, we generally recommend Craft Notes for folks who are more interested in analog than tech, and Craftapped for more tech-savvy users. While both companies do offer an app, Craftapped is app-only while Craft Notes produces a slick, passport-esque booklet.
Brewery Insider Clubs/Memberships
Brewery memberships are a great way to financially support your favorite breweries during tough times in the industry and hook your giftee up with access to rare and exclusive releases.
Programs vary greatly in price and perks depending on the host brewery or cidery. Wild State Cider’s Cider Club nets you a 12 pack of exclusive cider every other month, plus discounts and freebies at their Duluth taproom. Fair State’s Co-Op membership gives you round-the-clock happy hour beer pricing plus discounts and first dibs on special releases. Lupulin’s comparatively pricey Lupulin Society 2.0 program provides its members with a growler or crowler 3-pack every month for five years, plus discounts and exclusive event and release invitations.
Winter Dabbler Tickets
Last but certainly not least, we have the best beer lover holiday gift of them all: Tickets to Winter Beer Dabbler 2022! Your giftee can enjoy unlimited samples of beer and cider from a huge variety of breweries and cideries all over the United States, plus music, food trucks, and thrilling winter fun still yet to be announced.
Have a Beer Dabbler festival super-fan on your shopping list? Give them the gift of craft beer all year long with our Festival Season Pass, which includes premium tickets to all three of our flagship events in 2022.