18 great holiday gifts for craft beer lovers

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With Thanksgiving in the rearview mirror and more holidays ahead, it’s time to start thinking about the perfect gift for the beer lovers in your life. Luckily, there are always options for gifting joy to the beer aficionados on your shopping list.


I say it every year, but it’s still true: Beer remains the obvious gift choice for the people in your life who are passionate about beer. The biggest hurdle is knowing their beer preferences. What kind of beer drinker are they? Do they enjoy trying new beers? Or do they stick to what they know they like? Do they prefer local beers, imports or beers from outside their home state? Do they prefer cans or bottles? Asking those questions can help you home in on the right choice.

“CASK: The Real Story of Britain’s Unique Beer Culture,” by Des De Moor, is $30 and published by The Campaign for Real Ale and tells the story of British cask ale. (CAMRA Books)

Seasonal variety packs are a good way to hedge your bets. Consider Stone Brewing’s Twelve Days of IPA Mix Pack, Dogfish Head’s Holiday IPA Variety 12-Pack, Samuel Adams’ Beers for Cheers, Cost Plus’ Beers of the World or Costco’s Brewer’s Advent Calendar 2023, offering 24 cans of German beer and a fun way to count down the days until Christmas.

Another good gift choice is a holiday beer. Popular options include Sierra Nevada’s Celebration Fresh Hop IPA, Anderson Valley’s Winter Solstice, Delirium’s Noël (a Belgian strong ale with a Santa hat-wearing pink elephant), Deschutes’ Jubelale or Spoetzl Brewery’s Shiner Holiday Cheer. For the non-alcoholic beer drinker in your life, consider Clausthaler’s Santa Clausthaler Holiday Brew or Athletic Brewing’s Fireside Brew Lodge Life.

Beer Gifts

Of course, there are plenty of beer-adjacent gifts too, including beer games — not drinking games that expedite getting drunk, but more thoughtful games featuring beer themes — as well as desserts made with beer.

Consider the beer-themed version of Monopoly called “Brew-Opoly” (Late for the Sky, $25), or the party game “Brew Ha Ha!” (Uncorked Games, $20), which asks players to combine their cards to create funny, straightforward or ridiculous beer descriptions.

Host your own pub trivia night with this $30 kit by University Games. (Courtesy University Games)

There are also more educational beer games, such as “BeerIQ” (Helvetiq, $25), a trivia game that tests your beer knowledge, or “Unlabeled — The Blind Beer Tasting Board Game” (Unlabeled, $30), in which players share unknown beers with one another and then analyze and figure out what they’re tasting using the game board.

Give pub quiz fans the tools to host their own trivia party, such as “Pub Quiz” (Gift Republic, $30), “Ultimate Pub Trivia” (University Games, $30) or “Host Your Own Pub Quiz Trivia Game” (Cheatwell Games, $30).

For folks who love both beer and chocolate, consider picking up Guinness chocolates. Beer-spiked malted milk balls or chocolate caramels are packed in mock Guinness cans at Cost Plus. And Bruce Julian Heritage Foods, available online, offers craft beer brittle in flavors such as Chocolate Peanut Butter Porter, Yuletide Christmas Ale and India Pale Ale.

Beer Books

Books about beer also make great gifts. Here are a few new titles published this year that I can highly recommend.

Years ago, I recommended “The Complete Beer Course: From Novice to Expert in 12 Tasting Classes” (Union Square & Co., $35), which Joshua Bernstein originally wrote in 2013. This year, he’s published a completely revised and updated version,  offering an excellent overview on everything the burgeoning beer lover or seasoned taster should know about beer.

The North American Guild of Beer Writers (which I co-founded!) gives awards for beer journalism each year. This year’s first-place winner was “Ted Mack and America’s First Black-Owned Brewery: The Rise and Fall of Peoples Beer” by Clint Lanier (McFarland, $40). It’s a fascinating story about an African-American veteran who bought a Wisconsin brewery in 1970.

In second place was Eoghan Walsh’s “A History of Brussels Beer in 50 Objects” (Independently published, $14), which provides a unique look at Belgium’s capital city through the lens of beer.

And finally, there’s Des De Moor’s “Cask: The Real Story of Britain’s Unique Beer Culture” (CAMRA Books; $30), which focusing on the dying British culture of cask beer.

Happy shopping—and sipping!

Contact Jay R. Brooks at BrooksOnBeer@gmail.com.

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