If you’re looking for a gift for the beer-loving person in your life, here are some ideas that go beyond the usual beers, books, and t-shirts.
Hop Earrings, Cufflinks, Shower Hooks
Etsy is the perfect place to peruse for one-off gifts. After purchasing some wooden hop earrings ($18) from Beer Muse on Etsy, I contacted her about some custom pieces. She quickly made me wooden hop cufflinks ($12) for my husband, which are now sold on her site, and 3” wooden hop cone shower hooks ($6/each). You see, when one purchases a hop shower curtain ($65) from CafePress, one needs matching hooks. If you have a custom beer/hop gift in mind, Beer Muse might be the person to create it for you.
Custom Chalk Art
After removing a window during a home renovation, we had a window-sized space 21” x 58” that needed “something”. At first we were going to just install a blackboard but since we don’t have kids, we’d probably write “What’s on Tap” once and then get lazy and never change it. That idea evolved into beer-related chalk art after seeing some at Sierra Nevada in Asheville. We were connected with Chalkstar, a local Steveston chalk artist, and he worked with us to create a custom piece for Three Dawgs Bierhaus that incorporated our garden hop varietals, descriptors, and the inner workings of a hop cone. The piece was created with markers to ensure it didn’t rub off and cost $200.
Does your significant other take a lot of photos of beer, hops, or breweries? Of course they do. Find a good, unique photo and blow it up. The cost to blow up to 16”x20” should run you around $20 plus a frame, which will vary depending on materials and quality.
I’m not a fan of knick-knacks or clutter. Less crap to dust, right? But these guys are small, inexpensive, and hold some of the dried hops from our yard. Grab some corked jars from your usual cheapy place – dollar store, Michael’s – and fill with fully dried whole hops or grain. I’d stay away from filling them with yeast, though…
If you’re looking for some education to pair with the beer, there are a number of choices. Locally, Serious Beer Level 1 ($525) and Level 2 ($750) are held at the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts and offer a broad spectrum of beer style history, brewing mechanics, beer tasting, analyzing off-flavours, food/beer pairing, and a full compendium that will help one prepare for the Cicerone® exam. The next session for Level 2 will be in January and Level 1 has not been announced yet.
The Cicerone® Certification Program also has a number of study materials at your disposal from beer style flashcards ($15) and course books ($99) to off-flavour sensory kits ($149 – $749). You can also purchase a gift card for any of their study materials, courses, and exams, such as the Certified Beer Server ($69) exam. The exam can be taken any time as you’re provided a code they can use when signing up for the exam.
Need some more material to pass the Cicerone® exam? Beer Scholar Study Guides ($60) will provide you with real practice exams, a study guide, and flashcards.
For the homebrewer in your life, you can have a custom tap handle made. Get on the googles and start searching as there are many options including Beer Designs, Etsy, and locally, Smooth Edge Design where a custom handle will run you about $50 – $70.
Custom Bottle Caps/Labels
Step up the homebrewing game by purchasing some custom bottle caps ($0.14+/each) and/or bottle labels ($0.60+/each) from Bottlemark. I used my Hops Canary logo on a cap and they turned out perfectly. Sadly, I still use green painters tape for labelling. Ooof.
How about a homebrewer’s club membership? It’s a great resource for brewing information, willing guinea pigs to test your homebrew on, they often organize events and arrange for competition shipments, and it’s a fantastic way to connect with other passionate brewers. VanBrewers ($30) is our local club.
Lastly, place your pre-order for some hop rhizomes to plant in the spring. Your local homebrew shop will likely take orders as will a number of online hop farms ($5 – $7 each).
For the beer writers amongst us, you can help get them started by reserving a domain name ($2 – $20/year). My husband did that for me a couple of years back and it inspired me to set up a proper website. Some domain hosts also sell packages such as a web builder product and WordPress to help make the transition easier.
Now that they’re all fancy with this shiny new website, they might need a logo design. The old adage you get what you pay for resonates with design. If you have some skills, you can try designing your own or find various online resources to do it cheaply. Or, you can engage the help of a graphic designer who can provide various sizes for business cards, Twitter and Facebook avatars, blog headers, and more.
My logo was done by local graphic designer and artist, Bret Taylor. Bret worked with me to toss around ideas and after some fine-tuning, he nailed the design. It works perfectly for my use, even on custom bottle caps! Expect to pay $250ish for a friends & family deal up to $500. Give your writer an IOU for this one since design is a personal decision and there will likely be a number of tweaks before it’s perfect.
Have the logo? Get some business cards printed – there are some great materials and designs being offered these days including square, wooden, and bamboo cards. Local company Jukebox have tons of options, online upload/ordering, and a quick turnaround. If you need a business card holder, Mashed in Beer Gear have holders that are embedded with hops or grains ($20).
Looking for a gift that gives back to you too? Plan a vacation around the annual Beer Bloggers & Writers Conference ($120 – $145 + those pesky travel expenses). The next conference is August 10 – 11, 2018 and being held in Loudoun County, Virginia. Hell yeah. Tons of great sessions, networking, and bottle shares all in the name of, uh, education.
All of these suggested gifts can be purchased right from your couch. Happy shopping!