It’s December, which means the season of unbridled consumption is officially upon us. Whether Christmas parties, holiday treats, or copious amounts dark, delicious winter ale, saying no is difficult, if not impossible.
So it is with holiday shopping. You’re probably going to have to brave the mall to get all those presents you’re socially and culturally obligated to buy – there’s no way around it.
And when it comes to shopping for the beer nerd in your life (even if that person is you), beer would be the obvious choice. Might I suggest, however, putting a little more thought into your gift?
With that in mind, I’ve compiled the ultimate list of totally awesome beer-related gift ideas. And the best part? Everything here is locally made and available online, so you won’t have to set foot inside the mall. You’re welcome.
(Of course, there’s nothing stopping you buying all of these for yourself. No judgment.)
Custom is always right
I have a bit of a problem: I collect growler bottles, and it’s kind of ruining my marriage. At last count, there were about 30 of them in our kitchen, our hall closet, and tucked away in various boxes and drawers. My wife’s banned me from bringing any more home. But being the stubborn, disrespectful jerk I am, I’ve consistently ignored this rule.
So, learn from my terrible example. Instead, give one growler and make sure it’s amazing. Vancouver’s own Sigil & Growler offers growler engraving, allowing you to personalize the bottle with custom art for a truly unique gift. (If you’re not so artistically inclined, they have ready-made designs with customizable text, too.) With a growler this cool, there will be no need to collect any more. And since a full growler is way better than an empty one, your custom bottle also comes with a free fill-up from the good folks over at Faculty Brewing. Custom bottles start at $45; SigilAndGrowler.com
Strapped in and ready to go
That sweet custom growler is great and all, but your gift recipient is going to need some means of transporting it from craft brewery to craft brewery. Thankfully, Union Wood Co. partnered up with Postmark Brewing to create this leather growler carrier that attaches to the frame of your bike. No more sketchy one-handed riding! That custom growler is going to look so sexy all wrapped up in leather straps. $69.99 at UnionWoodCo.com
You made it home on your bike with your full growler, so invite some buds over for a tasting! You’re going to need some appropriate glassware (Mason jars don’t count), which is where Vancouver’s Smooth Edge Design comes in. Craftsman Adam Berson designs and manufactures those cool wooden paddles you see at craft breweries and tap rooms, and for about $40, you can get your own – complete with matching glassware. Design your own shape and even have it custom engraved. SmoothEdgeDesign.ca
A Fest-Of-Ale for the rest of us
Thinking of treating your significant other (or yourself) to a beercation? Penticton is the craft beer capital of the Okanagan, and Fest of Ale is one of the best craft beer festivals in the province (as well as one of the longest-running). This year’s event runs Apr. 7-8, with 150-plus tastings from the 50-plus craft breweries and cideries on hand. The weather in Penticton is already shockingly warm and dry in April (by Vancouver standards), and let’s face it, you’ll need the vitamin D. Weekend passes are on sale for only $42 until Dec. 24, and hotel specials start at $99. Visit FestOfAle.ca for tickets and info.
Best. Xmas. EVER.
Shameless self-promotion alert! For $18.99, you can get a year’s subscription to The Growler – the best dang craft beer magazine in the universe – with four issues delivered directly to your mailbox. The Growler is packed with awesome stories, the latest BC craft beer news, profiles of your favourite breweries, recipes, cartoons – you name it. It’s an indispensible guide to every single craft brewery in the province that no beer nerd should ever be without. It might be the greatest thing ever. (Full disclosure: I might be a little biased.) TheGrowler.ca
• The Winter 2016 edition of The Growler is out now at your favourite craft brewery, liquor store, or tap room, as well as on newsstands.