Last week I gave you 12 good Christmas beers. This week, it's time to give back. The holidays are a time for giving thanks to others and to your own situation. If you're beer-rich and actually poor, fear not. You can still give out quality gifts to friends based on your vast knowledge of beer and beer-related products. If you're actually rich, you've probably got your nose buried in a copy of Wine Spectator, anyway. The following gifts will get you in good with the beer-savvy crowd.
Proper glassware: Everyone has that friend who serves their beers in old Coca Cola glasses. Get that friend a proper beer set. Spigelau makes a good set that features a tulip glass (my got-to), a lager glass, a pilsner glass, and a glass for wheat beer. You can often find beer glasses from specific brewers at your local liquor store. The tulip glass is essential for any budding beer connoisseur.
T-shirt and T-shirt club: As someone who spends most of my time looking to try new brews when I travel, I'm partial to these "Beer Tourist" shirts from Beerbunny.com. Another good option is a monthly membership featuring shirts from select breweries in this craft beer shirt of the month club.
Barleycorn's Craft Brew gift card: Ever wanted to brew your own beer without shelling out the money for the equipment? Barleycorn's Craft Brew in Natick supervises the process, provides recipes for a variety of styles, and takes care of the mess. You return after fermentation is complete to collect your bottles. A friend at work did this with his daughter and said he had a great time.
Pub Trivia game: From University Games, this take-home pub trivia game mimics the trivia played at bars across the country. If you're going to drink beer you might as well get smarter while doing it. You can buy the game at Walmart stores.
A beer trip: I'm partial to Waterbury. Vt. Portland, Maine, is one of my favorite places in the whole wide world. And Portsmouth, N.H. is nearby and is at the tip of any beer destination list. Been to Worcester lately? You could make a night of going to local bars, with Armsby Abbey being your home base. Buy someone an overnight stay in a great beer destination and they won't be disappointed.
Massachusetts Breweries book: Earlier this year I reviewed a great book on Massachusetts breweries by John Holl and April Darcy. You can still buy the book on Amazon.
Night Shift Brewing Barrel Society: Operating much like a farm's CSA program, members pay up front for a "crop" of beer from Everett's Night Shift Brewing for the year. For $250 you get two bottles each of seven barrel-aged beers, glasses, a shirt, and admission to an end-of-the-year party. You can split your membership with someone else as well. You can sign up here.
Beer and meat: Samuel Adams has teamed up with Robinson's Prime Reserve to offer steak packages that pair well with Samuel Adams beers. Pint glasses come with the meat.
"Beer googles": If you're perpetually looking for a bottle opener, these sunglasses with bottle openers on the end may be a solution. They're actually cool-looking, too. Available on the Brewsees website.
Beer: Of course, the best gift to give a beer lover is beer. Here are some suggestions;
-- A beer to give your boss: Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA (shows you're assertive and have good taste)
-- A beer to bring to your mother’s house: Allagash White (pairs well with food, everyone will like it)
-- A beer to give to a beer geek: Founders Breakfast Stout (pretty widely available, pretty darn awesome)
-- A beer to give to a Bud Light drinker: Notch Session Pils (what Bud Light would be if Bud Light didn't suck)
-- A beer for that lady in your life: Pretty Things Baby Tree (it's delicious AND pretty)