The Professor has no idea what someone who likes beer may want for Christmas. He does know what he would want, so he can guess. So here are a few gift suggestions for those who like good beer. Not in any specific order.
1. Beer of the Month clubs may be a good idea, but check out what they have to offer. Unique and odd is best here. Whatever you do don’t call the shipping agent, like UPS for example, and ask, “Where’s that beer I gave Joe for Christmas?” Call the company that offers the service. They probably told the shipping company it’s anything but beer. Also find out delivery times. The longer the delivery time the more likely you should choose some other club. A wide selection is best. A club that only offers beer from a few brewers is probably not wise. This will be hit and miss by the very nature of the gift so a service that offers more brewers; rather than just a few, would be better.
2. Beer dinner. Some brewpubs and multi-tap/good beer selection restaurants offer beer dinners, or beer dinners with the brewer. Expensive; but often well worth it, depending upon the pub or restaurant. Most are willing to sell a card or certificate you can give them. Might be best to check with anyone else who knows about these establishments to see if they serve good beer or most in the know find it disgusting. Check more than one if possible: everyone has opinions regarding beer and too many go by personal preference rather than how good the beer actually is.
3. A beer basket. Make one up yourself and you can add only what you know they love, or you can order them on line.
4. Brewania: beer glasses/mugs, serving trays with their favorite beer’s logo on it. If they are collectors, find out more about what their collection is like. They’ll love to talk about it and probably won’t guess what you are up to.
5. Brewing related items. This is tricky because you need to know how far they’ve gotten into actually brewing their own beer. A style kit might be insulting to the advanced brewer, though they might be able to re-gift it at their next homebrew club Christmas party. Don’t count on it. Beer sanitizer, subscriptions to Zymurgy or other beer related magazines. You may really need to know more about who you are giving to. But that goes without saying no matter what you give.
6. If you know they use 12 oz brown bottles for brewing go to your local homebrew store and buy a case. It’s easier than scrubbing and getting crud out of old bottles. They will be grateful.
7. Cheese making books. Once again: you need to know if they like cheese, but often beer lovers do. They go together as much, or more, than beer and wine or anything else. Cheese itself might be good, but you’ll need to know their tastes. Those who think blue cheese tastes like eating pure mold off the top of tainted milk won’t be happy, for example.
8. A beer party. Know his or her beer friends? They probably know what he or she likes. They may even brew it themselves. Print out a mysterious gift certificate that says they will get their gift on a certain date at a certain location: like your place. Invite all the beer friends. Ask these friends to bring beer if they brew it, if they are willing. Don’t make it mandatory. (What a party killer!) Ask them what you should buy that he or she likes, then have a surprise beer party!