Who Should Get the Gift of Beer this Year?

Over the past year I’ve gained the status of beer geek amongst my friends and family.  This blog might have something to do with that.  Anyway, with the holidays just about here, I’m trying to sort out who I should give beer to and who is a lost cause when it comes to craft beverages.  My beer friends are easy – get them something special or a little wierd and they’ll be thrilled. 

But I have others in my life who aren’t really big on the whole beer thing.  Sure, they’ll listen politely as I go on about a certain brewery or a cool beer I’ve had, but does that translate into actual interest?  Would they truly appreciate receiving a big corked bottle of something nice, or would they prefer socks or even a regifted fruitcake?  I would love to expand their horizons, and a gift of beer makes sense coming from me, but I don’t want to give something that they’ll never open.

So I ask you, wisened beer community: How do you determine who gets beer and who something else (like a lump of coal)?  Please let us know in the comments below!

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Craft beer nerd, frequent beer blogger and occasional home brewer.

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11 Comments on “Who Should Get the Gift of Beer this Year?”

  1. December 7, 2009 at 2:27 pm #

    I have been thinking this over myself. I brewed up a special christmas ale for friends and family. It yielded 5.5 gallons of delicious dark chocolate goodness. I have about 25 bottles to give away (saving a few for me, of course). I am not giving the beer to those who are only slightly beer geeked, it would just be a waste.

    • Jim
      December 7, 2009 at 3:00 pm #

      Not to say you are, but i’d be especially stingy with something I brewed myself. I think it’s more special and should be meted out that way. I also think you’re popular, as I don’t have 25 people to consider giving beer to!

  2. Don
    December 7, 2009 at 5:13 pm #

    The nice thing about beer is that it is a relatively inexpensive gift, and for a few dollars you can introduce someone into the world of craft brews. This aspect does make it tempting to over give to people who really wouldn’t appreciate it. But if all you do is give to those that already believe, then you are just preaching to the choir. I believe that like all good gifts it takes thought. Who would appreciate it, is there someone who is teetering on the brink of a breakthrough? Has someone mentioned that craft beers interest them, but they are overwhelmed in the beer aisle? These are the people to target. Also you can do what I did for my Brother Jim, pick out a few things that he doesn’t have access to. I got him a McTarnihans Hum Bug Winter Porter Which is brewed in Portland andhas a limited distribution, and a beer that is brewed locally here in Boise, as well as a stout that he can probably find called Lump of Coal. That was an import from England, so he can probably find it, but it was an impulse buy because I thought he might actually appreciate this Lump of Coal!

    I think thought in the gift is key, and knowing your recipient.


    • Jim
      December 7, 2009 at 5:25 pm #

      But do I get something good and easy drinking for the whole office, like a bottle of Chimay or St. Bernardus Christmas Ale (or something cheaper but still tasty and corked)?

      • Don
        December 7, 2009 at 5:49 pm #

        Why corked? You can impress with just a cap if you get something good! For the office I would recommend Sierra Nevada’s Celebration Ale. Cheap, good, hoppy and colored for the season.

        • Jim
          December 7, 2009 at 6:15 pm #

          Because the novelty of the corks says “this ain’t Bud – it’s champagne!” It’s particularly important when trying to get the point across that beer can be special, especially to someone who has no clue.

          I know it’s gimmicky, but I think it matters.

        • Don
          December 7, 2009 at 8:25 pm #

          Did you really just say the “Novelty of Corks”? Do you hear yourself? A cork is about as novel as a marble. It’s what is on the inside that counts Jim, unless they have those cool cages over the cork to add that special WOW factor! You have surpassed geek and careened headlong into Dork!

        • Jim
          December 7, 2009 at 9:21 pm #

          Now now, big brother. Many people consider beer to be lowbrow, especially when compared to wine. Giving a corked beer is great way to show people that beer can be as (or more) special than anything made from grapes. A large, capped bottle doesn’t send the same message. It says “I got you a forty, yo!” which is actually fine for folks who know beer can be special, but doesn’t help to transcend expectations like a cork does.

          BTW, can you tell which one of us is in marketing?

  3. December 7, 2009 at 9:05 pm #

    Don, all I know is that when I get a cork as a gift it warms my heart, even if there is no beer bottle attached to it. Just the beauty of the cork is enough. The buoyancy, its delicate flakiness, knowing that some special trees were skinned just for me…what more is there?

    As far as beer gifts go, I have some special items purchased for some of my Brew Club pals, but for the most part coal is so much easier.

    • Jim
      December 7, 2009 at 9:13 pm #

      The weirdest thing my son ever got Trick or Treating was a little bundle of wrapping paper filled with 22 cents and a wine cork. Totally bizarre, but not as messy as coal. You might want to consider that instead of lumps, Scott.

      Of course we never went back to that house again…

  4. Don
    December 23, 2009 at 5:06 pm #

    I just picked up a big corked bottle of Chimay Blue Grand Reserve. I’m giving it to a friend who is a loyal bud drinker, but claims that he likes micro brews. I think this is a good choice. Not too intense and in my opinion a delicious malty and floral flavor that is truly special. I hope he likes it!

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