If you’re looking for something for that beer geek in your family, and are considering a nice beer drinking shirt, then here are more than a few ideas. If you are the beer geek in the family, perhaps you could leave this list lying around or leave it up on your computer screen for someone to find.
1. Great Craft Beer
Well, the most obvious gift for the beer geek is beer. If you’re not familiar with craft beer, a good rule of thumb would be to find something that’s around $10 or more a 6-pack, and it might be even better if it comes in a 4-pack at that price. A single bottle might be easier, so something in the $7 or more a bottle range. Another helpful tip is to look for anything that is rare, limited, or barrel aged. Beer geeks usually love the exclusive stuff.
There’s only one thing better than making your very own beer, and that’s drinking it. Beer lovers can enjoy the best of both worlds by brewing their own beer. It’s much simpler than you might think, and kits vary from the low-cost, easy to use Mr. Beer Kit, all the way up to a Complete Homebrew Beer Making Kit. With either type of kit you can make anything from your favorite hoppy IPA to dark black stouts. Buy the complete Homebrew Beer Making Kit here or a Mr. Beer Home Microbrewery here.
3. The Oxford Companion to Beer Book
This book, in the Oxford Companion series, is a bit pricey, but it packs a ton of beer information into 960 pages. Edited by Brooklyn Brewery’s brewmaster, Garrett Oliver, a group of 166 contributors put together information on everything from brewing history to food pairings and beer styles. Some have called it a new encyclopedia of beer, and it’s at the top of the list of new books out for beer connoisseurs. Buy the hardback or the Kindle edition for a bit less.
4. A Beer Tasting Notebook
With thousands of new craft beers hitting the scene every year, it can be hard, even for the biggest beer geek, to remember what each of them tastes like. That’s why many beer geeks keep a tasting journal – to remind themselves of things like: color, mouthfeel, taste, aroma, and more. This helps to keep track of what beers you’ve tried, as well as what you thought of each one. Really, you can’t call yourself a beer geek unless you’re keeping track of what you’ve had. We recommend 33 Bottles of Beer Tasting Note Book from our friend Dave at 33 Books because it fits easily into your pocket and has a cool graphic chart to track your taste preferences. Buy a beer journal here.
5. The Craft of Stone Brewing Co. Book
Written by Greg Koch, brewmaster at Stone Brewing, along with co-founder Steve Wagner and spokesman Randy Clemens, Stone has never been shy about promotion craft beer, especially their own. In The Craft of Stone Brewing Co.: Liquid Lore, Epic Recipes, and Unabashed Arrogance they share a little bit about the brewery’s history, philosophies, and several recipes which incorporate Stone’s beers. Known for beers with names like Arrogant Bastard and Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale, their beers are good, and you’ll read plenty about what makes them so. Buy it here.
6. How To Host a Beer Tasting Party Kit
Whether you’re a brew master or just a beer lover who loves to throw a party, this complete kit is for you. It contains everything you’ll need to host a beer tasting in your own home. A beer-tasting party is fun and educational for everyone from novices to serious craft beer or microbrew drinkers. Within this all-inclusive kit are the elements to be a terrific host – including beer bottle covers, tasting notepads, a beer-aroma wheel, sampling glasses, beer-and-food wheel, and an entertaining and informative book that introduces you to the ins and outs of beer. Buy it here.
7. Unlabeled – The Blind Beer Tasting Board Game
For more advanced beer geeks who want to test their beer knowledge, this is the board game made for people who love tasting beer and testing their knowledge. To play Unlabeled, each player brings one or two hidden beers to the party. You can also order a flight of “unlabeled” beers if you’re playing at a brewery or beer bar. Each round, players taste the same “unlabeled” beer, evaluate the game board, and attempt to identify the beer’s characteristics, general beer category, or specific beer type. Think you know the exact beer? You can throw your game piece in the middle and state the brewery and beer name for max points! Buy it here.
Author Randy Mosher teaches some of the top brewers in the world on this topic at the Siebel Institute of Technology. In this book he explores and explains the tasting experience, guiding readers to a better understanding of how every batch of beer is affected by recipe formulation, brewhouse procedures, yeasts, fermentations, carbonation, filtration, packaging, and much more. You’ll learn to identify the scents, colors, flavors, and mouth-feel of all the major beer styles. No matter what you’re experience is with beer serving and tasting, we guarantee you’ll learn something from this book. Buy it here.
9. Beer Ingredients Books
If you want to learn a lot about the ingredients that make up beer, these are the most comprehensive series of books on the topic. The Brewing Elements series from Brewers Publications is a resource for homebrewers to professionals. The first in the series is Yeast: The Practical Guide to Beer Fermentation. The next was For the Love of Hops: The Practical Guide to Aroma, Bitterness andthe Culture of Hops, which explains the nature and origins of hops. Recently, Water: A Comprehensive Guide for Brewers, came out, as well as Malt: A Practical Guide from Field to Brewhouse (Brewing Elements) the final book in the series will obviously be about grain, and is due to be released sometime in the next year or so. You can buy each of the books or the whole set.
Studies have shown that glassware can have a significant impact on the enjoyment of beer, and in particular how flavors and aromas come across. This Connoisseur’s set of four beer glasses from Spiegelau are lead-free crystal, and are great for any occasion. The set includes a stemmed pilsner, lager, wheat beer, and tall pilsner glass. Each glass in the Beer Classics collection is designed to enhance a specific style of beer and maximize their appearance, aroma, taste and mouth feel. Each glass holds a standard 12 ounce bottle of beer, leaving ample room for the formation of the frothy head. Buy them here.
11. A Kegerator and Keg Beer Cooler
The next best thing to brewing your own beer, is having beer always on tap at home. You can go for a full size kegerator for around $700, which will hold a standard half barrel, or you can try a smaller Homecraft Mini Kegerator Cooling System (seen here) which holds a small keg or growler. Either way, it’s nice to be able to serve yourself a cold draft beer anytime you want one. Get a full size kegerator, or get the Homecraft Mini Kegerator Cooling System.
12. Craft Beer Bar Mitzvah Book
Schmaltz Brewing founder Jeremy Cowan tells he story of how the nation’s first and only Jewish Celebration beer came to fruition – how it went from an inside joke, into a thriving and award-winning craft brewing company. Included in Craft Beer Bar Mitzvah: How It Took 13 Years, Extreme Jewish Brewing, and Circus Sideshow Freaks to Make Shmaltz Brewing an International Success are lessons he learned growing the business and some humorous personal anecdotes. For good measure, there are suggested beer pairings for each chapter, a hangover rating system, and 16 pages of full-color photograph collages. Buy it here.
13. 1001 Beers You Must Taste Before You Die
A bucket list for beer lovers, this book includes the world’s best beers – from Europe’s classics to the latest microbrews. The book focuses on the world of premium beers—from obscure labels to such traditional yet supremely local brands as Shiner (Austin, Texas), from Czech pilsners to German lagers, Belgian wheat beers, and Trappists ales, not to mention the classic British porters and Irish stouts—every type of beer is covered, making this the “go-to” volume for serious beer lovers. It features critical tasting notes and subjective assessments that will help match the right beer to the right occasion. Buy it here
14. Beer Travel Bag
There are many craft beers that are only available in certain parts of the country, so beer geeks will often try to bring beer back with them during their travels. However, it’s not always easy to safely pack beer in your luggage. These travel bags are made for wine, but work just as well for beer. The padded bags not only help to cushion blows from baggage handlers, but also absorb the liquid should the bottle break – saving your clothes from stains. The bags are resealable, reusable, and biodegradable. They are also made in the U.S.A., and you can buy them here in a pack of 3 bags.
15. Sauces made with Beer
The folks at Stone Brewing make some pretty bold sauces with their bold beers. They have several different BBQ sauces and hot sauces, all of which are brewed, stewed and bottled on the edge of the Pacific Ocean – just a few short miles from the Stone brewery. You can buy the sauces now.
16. Stainless Steel Growler
Growlers are a convenient way of being able to take home some fresh draft beer from local brewery. These growlers are not only stylish, but can keep hot liquids hot and cold liquids cold for more than 12 hours. The double-wall technology also prevents condensation on the exterior of the bottle as well as any kind of temperature transfer from whichever type of beverage the bottle is holding, regardless of whether it is hot or cold. Get this stainless Steel Growler
17. Growler Transportation
Once you get the growler filled, you’ve got to get it home, but how do you do that safely. For the car you can use this handy Growler carrier, which is made of plastic with space for ice packs. For something a little more fashionable and discreet, there’s an insulated tote you can carry. If you’re on your bike, you’re not out of luck, there’s a Growler Cage you can buy to tote your growler along with you.
18. A Cool Bottle Opener
Most craft beers don’t have twist off caps, so you’ll need a bottle opener. Why not get one that serves a dual function, one that’s easy to carry, or one that’s just cool to use. There’s something for every interest, whether you’re a fan of Stone Brewery’s style, Star Wars (or this Star Wars one), or biking and hiking. There’s just about everything you can think of – a ring, an iPhone case, and even a pair of sandals with a bottle opener built into it. Finally, there’s the classic church key. If you get stuck without a bottle opener, you can read the Complete Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Man Skills, to teach you how to open a bottle without an opener.
19. The History of America’s Craft Beer Revolution Book
In 1975, there was one craft brewery in the United States; today, there are more than 2,300. The Audacity of Hops: The History of America’s Craft Beer Revolution is based on thorough research as well as interviews with all of the most influential names in craft brewing since the 1960s. This book was called an “Excellent history of the American craft brewing movement,” by Slate Magazine, and currently has 4.3 out of 5 stars on Amazon. Buy this book today.
20. The World Atlas of Beer
This comprehensive, fully illustrated volume on beer is more than just an in-depth history, it’s also a detailed overview of more than 500 of the greatest beers from around the world, with sections devoted to major beer-producing countries and regions, including information on craft brewing, emerging markets, extreme beers, future-trend forecasts, and more. Buy the book here.
Similarly, there’s also the National Geographic Atlas of Beer: A Globe-Trotting Journey Through the World of Beer, which is richly illustrated and claims to contain more beers and more countries than any other book of its kind. Including beer recommendations from Garrett Oliver, the renowned brewmaster of Brooklyn Brewery, and written by “beer geographers” Nancy Hoalst-Pullen and Mark Patterson, this indispensable guide features more than 100 illuminating maps and 200 beautiful color photos. You’ll find beer history, trends, and tasting across six continents (and how to order a beer in 14 languages!). Travel tips include the best breweries, beer festivals, and pubs in each location. Smart, compelling, and practical, this essential guide will help you discover the best beer wherever you are. Buy the book here.
21. Personal Care Products Made from Beer
If you love to drink it, why not bathe in it? Bath soap made with craft beer of every variety, from IPA to wheat and stouts. Some have real ground up hops, so it’ll smell just like a hop farm in the shower. Need to wash your hair? Try BROO, a style of shampoo made with craft beer – it also comes in styles from Pale Ale to Porter. You can also make your lips even more kissable with some Sierra Nevada Hops-N-Mint lip balm made with their beer and hops.
22. Food and Craft Beer
Some say that good craft beer is like a meal, so why not combine it with food. You can make your own beer bread with a mix from Tastefully Simple, or get some gourmet beer cheese to put on your beer bread sandwich. In fact, Rogue Ales in Newport, Oregon has their own creamery, and makes some excellent Rogue Creamery cheeses. How about something sweet like beer brittle or hop candy. You don’t necessarily have to have beer in your food. You can make an excellent beer pairing with the help of The Best of American Beer and Food: Pairing & Cooking with Craft Beer Book.
If there’s anything we missed, please let us know and we’ll be sure to add it to the ultimate craft beer lovers gift guide.