‘Tis the season! Peace, joy and giving to others (like me) and if you’re like most people, you want to be unique and give the perfect gift to your beer-loving friend or loved one. The options are practically unlimited, depending on your budget, and options within options can make your virtual window-shopping confusing, so we’ve narrowed it down to a Top Five List because everyone loves an end of the year list, right? I know I do, especially when it comes to the beverage lover in me, which brings us to our Top Five Gift Ideas for Beer Lovers.
Let’s face it: in the summertime the only way to enjoy a beer is when it’s ice-cold in your hand, but when you’re at the slope, or around a campfire in the middle of winter in a howling snowstorm and it’s a bit chilly outside, you want to look chic while keeping your hand warm. Beer gloves are out, beer mittens are in. About $30. Hotel accommodations at ski resort not included. Get an extra for yourself. Or me.
Custom Made Beer Mugs
The gift that lasts, at least until it breaks, is a custom-designed glass or mug. At Glass With A Twist, you can create one for about $20 for a single, custom glass or mug. Most custom designers drop the price if you order in bulk, so a nice, big set of glasses or mugs, custom-made for your special friend or loved-one (or me) should come in at $150 or so. Ready for that next big party? Yes you are.
Another custom design spot is Personal Creations, where single deigns will run $30-$40 depending on style. Again, the more you buy, the lower your unit cost. See? It’s not only better to give than receive, it’s better yet when giving in large quantities.
There’s something special about celebrating with a pub crawl, and the Denver area has a good number of local breweries. Wynkoop, Rock Bottom, Great Divide, Breckenridge are just a few of the “big names” and fun places to go, as well as new and different names such as Alpine Dog, Beryl’s Beer Company, Grandma’s House (haven’t you always wanted to go to Grandma’s for beer?), Jagged Mountain Craft Brewery … about 75 in the Denver Metro area alone, which would make for at least a few weekend crawls. Cost varies, but figure on $20 per stop and let’s call it 5 pubs for an even $100. Travel expenses should be about as much as alcohol, plus 50% if you drive down and take taxi home, then pick up your car the next day. About $250, depending on your ability to have way too much fun for one night. Hotel accommodations about $200. Crawl Responsibly.
Home Brew Kit
Most simplestarter kits run about $150-$200, but there’s almost no limit to the extra little things you can buy to go with it, as well as the ingredients for a “perfect brew” … barley, hops, malt and whatever other yummies are called for in any given recipe, and supplies for future batches and variety another $50-$100. Or more. Of course, a “how to” book is in order for the novice, such as Homebrewing for Dummies (because I love the Dummy books), the highly acclaimed John Palmer’s How to Brew and others such as Brewing Classic Styles or Designing Craft Beers are going to set you back about $20 each. Total for getting your friend (or me) started on the path to fermention heaven: $350-$500.
A Visit to the Guinness Brewery in Dublin, Ireland
Until something better comes along, our ultimate in unique gift ideas for your brew-loving special friend (like me) is a visit to the world famous Guinness Brewery in Dublin. Round-trip from New York runs about $750, double that if it’s a vacation getaway for you as well. Hotel accommodations for length of stay, dining, etc can add another chunk of change. A week sounds about right: depart NYC on Monday the 29th and don’t come home ’til 2015. Includes New Year’s Eve in the heart of Ireland, and a full weekend for hair of the dog. About $1,500/person … total for the full package a mere five grand. Or six, or seven, but who’s counting? I’m open that week.