Best Beer Gifts – 2016 Holiday Beer Gift Guide
For the 2016 Holiday Season, here are 36 creative beer gift ideas for the beer lover in your life!
Hello brew crew!
Just like last year, with the holidays – and gift-giving season – rapidly approaching, we decided to compile and list ideas that will make beer lovers blush when they tear open the wrapping paper. Perfect gifts for men and women, a number of these items are Chicago-area products, and most of them should be available nationwide and even worldwide.
Up to 36 different products this year, they range from the practical, like opening and serving beer or learning about beer through books and magazines, to the fun, including beer games, to even beauty products made with beer, and everything in between. There are a wide range of prices and, with most costing less than $50, so you should be able to cover everyone on your list no mater how naughty or nice they’ve been.
To make things easier, we’ve divided the gifts into major categories of “Beer Opening and Serving,” “Tours,” “Books and Magazines,” “Games,” “Other Fun Stuff,” “Certifications,” and “Homebrewing.” Just scroll below and enjoy!
Beer Opening & Serving
A simple Google search yields a ton of bottle openers, ranging from plastic ones that will play your alma mater’s college fight song to fancier, high quality ones. One of our favorites is made by the folks at Good Beer Hunting in Chicago. They have developed a high quality beer peen hammer, which has been cast in the fiery steel of Chicago’s south side. Impressive and of high quality. $55. Link.
You might have seen Bruce wear this ring while leading a beer tour (he is truly “married to the bottle”). A simple Google search provides a bunch of options, but here is a cheap option from World Market for two different sizes of rings for only $4.99. Link.
If you are looking for something stationary to open those beer bottles that looks classy and cool, you can hang a nice hand cut state wood bottle opener on your wall. Any state is available. $22. Link.
Even though the standard pint glasses abound in the U.S., glassware is important when drinking beer. Here is an inexpensive, basic set to cover some of the main styles. $24.95. Link.
These wooden drink paddles are a nice addition to those who want to present beer tastings in a classy way. $27.95. Link.
For a more modern look, these beer paddles are acrylic and claim to be more durable and easier to clean than other designs. $19.99. Link.
Our tour guides Glenn and Anna love to bike when they are not leading tours, and find it’s a great way to keep off those beer lbs. But biking makes us thirsty. Why not bring some delicious suds right with you so you can quench that thirst and start the cycle of beer all over again? $69.98. Link.
Here’s a very cool turn key kegorator for people who want to have suds right on tap. Better than trying to convert an old fridge that some homeless person urinated on on the side of the road, which is what Bruce and his idiot friends tried in college. Link.
You probably know that you can buy wine stoppers to save bottles of wine (and protect your liver), but did you know that you can do the same with beer? Think about that next time you open your specialty bomber of Goose Island’s Bourbon County Stout. $6.99 for a set of six. Link.
10. Gift Certificate to a Chicago Beer Experience Beer Tour
We are admittedly biased and partial to our gift certificates to our beer tours, which are perfect for craft beer lovers, Chicago lovers, or for those pesky friends and family members who seemingly have everything! These gift certificates are redeemable for either of our tours in Chicago’s Lakeview/Lincoln Park, Bucktown/Wicker Park, or Loop & South Loop neighborhoods (or any future locations or products that we offer). Recipients will enjoy Chicago history while sampling a variety of the some of the best craft beers the city has to offer. Once a gift certificate is purchased, it will be sent to you immediately via email through our vendor EzTix. Our gift certificates never expire! Click here to purchase.
11. Other Beer Tours
There are other great tours out there as well. In Chicago, this includes brewery tours at such places as Argus Brewing, Baderbrau, Begyle Brewing, Dovetail, Empirical Brewing, Half Acre Beer Company, Hopewell, Goose Island Beer Company (both the commercial brewery and Clybourn brewpub), Greenstar Brewing, Revolution Brewing, Lagunitas Brewing Company, Lake Effect Brewing, and Off Color Brewing. Note that most of these tours do not allow you to book beforehand and are subject to demand.
Books and Magazines
12. Tasting Beer: An Insider’s Guide to the World’s Greatest Drink by Randy Mosher
This is our favorite basic beer book, and one that we use to help train guides giving our tours. It provides the basics behind making beer, tasting beer, and beer styles, and delves deeper in appropriate places, while maintaining an easy-to-understand, enjoyable tone. $10.87 paperback. Link.
For those of you looking for a more comprehensive take on beer styles and the basics, this book should do it. It still maintains accessibility, too. $13.38 paperback. Link.
14. The Complete Joy of Homebrewing Fourth Edition by Charlie Papazian
A lot of people consider this book the “must have” for any beginning homebrewer, and we agree. Papazian’s comforting writing style makes homebrewing fun and accessible while not shying away from the complexity of the process. $11.99 paperback. Link.
Although published over a decade ago, this book is still highly relevant for the home brewers among us. More advanced than an introductory lesson, it dives deeper into more unique styles and ingredients, and what the homebrewer should understand before getting a bit crazy. $11.27 paperback. Link.
This book weaves the tale of Chicagoan Tony Magee’s efforts of starting and growing Lagunitas, which is now based in both California and Chicago. With the current craft brewery consolidation, including Lagunitas’s own partial Heineken sale, this book only gains in importance. $13.90 paperback. Link.
17. Brewing Up a Business: Adventures in Beer from the Founder of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery by Sam Calagione
Similar to the Lagunitas story by Tony Magee above, this book details Delaware’s Dogfish Head Brewery’s rise into national relevance since 1995. More based on personal stories than business advice, this will no doubt still inspire the homebrewer and/or entrepreneur. $15.28 paperback. Link.
Tailored more towards industry professionals, this magazine centers on the craft beer movement. Subscription price can vary. Link.
A magazine centered on craft beer. Subscription price can vary. Link.
Winter may be coming…but summer will be here before we know it. Have a Chicago based company help you with a custom cornhole/bags set to get ready to enjoy the sun when it first appears in mid-March. They can even put in LED hole lights so you can play at night, too. Price varies. Link.
Chicago startup Chippewa Five, or C5 for short, makes high-end custom beer pong tables. Now, you can play over the age of 30…and perhaps feel a little less guilty about it. Tables start at the grown up price of $829. Link.
You’ve probably seen all of those crazy monopoly variations. Here’s one that adds microbreweries to the mix as a theme. Buy and build your brewery empire and out compete your friends. $16.79. Link.
Here’s a neat way to gamify the tasting class experience. A perfect way to drink away a cold snowy day. $35. Link.
This card game will foster conversation by asking questions, which will undoubtably be more fun the more beer you drink. It also features breweries on each card. Complete set for $30. Link.
This creative piece will allow you to show off a ton of your craft beer bottle caps. $59.99. Link.
For the craft beer travel enthusiast, these cap maps are really cool. A very neat way to display beers that you’ve had from all over the country…or the world. Prices vary. Link.
Other Fun Stuff
Why not buy a loved one their portrait painted in beer? Kyle Bice, a Chicago-based illustrator and author who also works in the craft beer industry, primarily as a label artist with New Holland Brewing, paints these awesome portraits. Using a porter or stout, he’ll paint a picture of your friend, family member, or loved one in beer. Custom portraits start at $200. Link.
With Bröö hair products made with beer. You can wash and condition your hair with craft beer. Not really much left to say here. $7.49 per bottle. Link.
Might as well pair your shampoo with body soap, right? The Beer Soap Company makes over 130 different types of soap made with different varieties of beer. Brings a whole new meaning to the phrase “shower beer.” Starts at $6.75. Link.
How about candles that use use Chicago area craft beer bottles for a relaxing, interesting gift? Or you can find pendants made from craft beer labels, too! Check out Chicago artist Caroline Horist. Candles start at $12. Link.
A perfect gift for someone who wants to get disciplined at work, this adorable micro-fridge plus into a computer to cool 1 canned beverage of your choice. Now, you can take a beer out of here unsuspectingly and chug it in your boss or client’s face on a rough day. $17.99. Link.
Filled with Michigan hops picked this year, this ornament will display your love of beer by showing the one of the main ingredients in a fun, unique way. Especially great for IPA fans or other hop heads. $11. Link.
We think it beats jams and fruitcakes. While you can find various ones, we like the ones that include beer from the Bro Basket. Make sure they can ship alcohol to your state (beer is acceptable in Illinois). Prices vary. Link.
Started by Chicagoan Randy Mosher in 2007, the Cicerone program is becoming the definitive beer certification program. For the beer industry professional or enthusiast in your family or group of friends, you can buy them a gift to the various courses and study materials that they offer. Prices vary. Link.
The Beer Judge Certification Program as another certification that is geared towards judging beer festivals. Much of the process is free. Link.
Homebrewing is an incredible gateway into craft beer, and really deepens and understanding and appreciation into the brewing process. We recommend at least trying it, even if after you then prefer to buy from the pros…like we do.
For those of you looking to get someone into the brewing game, a basic homebrewing kit can be had for between $100-$200. We recommend staying away from the extreme budget options available for under this amount because they often result in some nasty tasting beers and can actually scare people away from the hobby.
Chicago based Brew and Grow provides some awesome options. For example, for equipment, check out some of the basic sets listed at the top of the page here. We think the kits make great gifts, but make sure you purchase the supplemental equipment (brew kettle, bottles, caps, sanitizers, etc.) that they call for. We’ve always found staff at homebrewing stores friendly and helpful, even for the novice brewer.
For those of you who have friends or family members that already homebrew, a gift certificate may be the best choice, as then they can then choose for themselves what they would like to purchase.
Chicago-based homebrewing stores include:
- Brew & Grow (Avandale in addition to various other suburban Chicago, Illinois, and Wisconsin locations)
- BevArt Brewer and Winemaker Supply (Beverly)
- Brew Camp (Lincoln Square)
- The Pursuit Supply Company (Iviring Park)
We hope these gift ideas are helpful in choosing the right gift for the beer lover that you know! Regardless, from the Chicago Beer Experience family to yours, we wish you a safe, happy, and festive holiday season.
Bruce and the CBE Family
Please note that we have set up affiliate links for the Amazon products at no additional cost to you, but you are more than welcome to search for them independently.
Tags: beer baskets, beer books, beer candles, beer collecting, beer games, beer gifts, beer glass sets, beer magazines, beer pong, beer portrait, beer shampoo, beer soap, beer tasting paddles, beer tours, bjcp, bottle bike bag, bottle caps, bottle openers, brew bracket, brewopoly, Chicago gifts, cicerone, corn hole, gift certificates, gifts for men, homebrewing, hops ornament, kegorator, ring bottle opener, thinking and drinking, wood bottle opener