Wednesday, December 11, 2013

beer gifts for the holiday season

also known as my notes from yesterday's beer column
on cbc radio's on the coast with stephen quinn

gifts for the beer lover:
 
The holiday season is in full swing. Are you done your shopping yet? Is there still a beer lover or two on your list? Never fear, here are some gift ideas for the beer lovers in your life.

It's too late now to get the beer advent calendars from Craft Beer Importers, featuring 10 Canadian beers, 13 American beers and 1 Mexican beer.  That one is available in early November and usually sells out within days of its arrival in stores, even with a price tag of $130. However, new this year is Phillips' Snowcase - featuring 24 different beers from Phillips, including regular offerings, seasonals and barrel-aged beers and a more modest price tag of $60 - and there may still be a few available around town at government liquor stores.
 
The beer advent calendar is a gift you have to plan ahead for. Luckily, there are plenty of other gifts for the beer lover that require much less advance planning!  Such as:

While I was at the Make It Fair I saw some fabulous pottery pint cups and steins made by local artist Robyn Williams of Willowcraft. You can see them on her website, willowcraft.ca. The pint cups come in various colours with a round label that says "1 pint" and sell for $25. The steins hold 24 oz and have handles on them. They come in various colours and you can choose ones bearing an ale or lager label, and they cost $35 each. Robyn tells me she has pint cups and steins in stock, so contact her to visit the studio and pick up a gift that also gives back to the community. Willowcraft donates 10% of its profits to Justpotters, a social enterprise that employs people from the margins and people with barriers like mental health and disability issues. Justpotters teaches pottery and job skills.

For the beer loving cyclist in your life, Firebox.com has a six bottle beer holder that goes over the crossbar of your bike. Firebox is located in England but can ship to Canada within 7 business days, so there's still time to order!
For the crafty folks out there, why not hand make a beer gift? Beer cozies are easy to knit or sew for your beer loving friends. Or a growler cozy if you're more ambitious. If you're good with wood, how about a bottle carrier or a growler box? There are plenty of free patterns for all of the above online.
For the board game lover there's the Brewopoly game, or Beer Nerd, the Tasting Trivia Game, both available from Amazon.ca, and just enough time to get it here before the holidays. Also available on Amazon is a poster of the periodic table of beer styles.
A subscription to Taps magazine is only $35 for a year's worth of monthly issues. If you spring for two years you get a pricing break of $60. Tapsmagazine.com is the website.
If you're in a time crunch, a trip to your local liquor store, government or private, makes for easy pickings. There are several great gift sets of beer and swag to choose from. New this year is Howe Sound's "Carton of Coal" three litre pack of Pothole Filler Oatmeal Stout, Megadestroyer licorice stout and Gathering Storm Cascadian Dark ale and a toque for $20.
If you happen to know your beer lovers' favourite brewery, you could purchase some swag from their online store. Tshirts, hats, hoodies, bottle openers, growlers and glassware are usually available and you should have just enough time if you order now to have the goods arrive in time for the holiday. If their favourite brewery is local, you could stop by and pick up the swag yourself. Tasting rooms like Parallel 49 and Brassneck have tshirts and glassware for sale, as well as growlers. A filled growler also makes a great host gift to take to a party with you. Brassneck has 3 different sizes of growlers to choose from. 33 Acres has beautiful ceramic growlers - they ain't cheap, but they're very attractive!  They currently have the 32oz size available.  They also have growler fill cards available for purchase.
If you are looking to buy memories rather than goods, may I suggest one of the many beer tours in town, or tickets to a beer pairing dinner at a restaurant near you.
And, lastly, a plug for my friend Joe Wiebe and his useful reference book, Craft Beer Revolution: The Insider's Guide to B.C. Breweries. Joe is offering autographed copies of the book inscribed personally to your beer lover. The book's website is: http://www.craftbeerrevolution.ca/index2.html
 
I leave you with a few other peoples' beer lovers gift lists: 
 
beer lovers gift guide from 'blog about beer'
about.com's 10 beer gifts
the brew club's list
the list from squidoo

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