Top gifts for the cold brew fans on your Christmas list.
With Christmas just weeks away, I was writing out my annual list of
demands requests for Santa and discovered an overwhelming theme: craft beer. (This is what happens when you spend too much time in Mount Pleasant.) At this point, I thought it best to rename it and share it with the world, so we can all get the season's most coveted, most drinkable gifts under the tree.
Top beer gifts for the craft beer enthusiast on your list
1. Give the Gift of Daily Joy
Beer Advent Calendar. Are you too late to give this early gift? Absolutely not. Present loved ones with either the Phillips Brewing & Malting Co. Snowcase advent calendar ($70) or the Red Racer and Parallel 49 Brewing Company advent calendar ($63) and they will happily catch up to today's date.
2. Growl on the Go
Greff Growler Carrier. Looking for this year's must-have? This finely crafted growler caddy from Greff is the man-cessory of 2015 and features olive waxed canvas, a felted wool lining, "vegetable-tanned" leather handles and a shoulder strap so you can carry it any which way. I've seen street-legal baby strollers built with less attention and care. Find them in Vancouver stores like Much and Little and Old Faithful Shop.
3. An Experience They'll Never Forget
Vancouver Brewery Tours. What's not to love about getting chauffeured around for a behind-the-scenes look (and tasting!) at Vancouver's top craft breweries? Vancouver Brewery Tours run weekly throughout the year, and a typical three-hour excursion takes groups of four to 14 around to three craft breweries on a rotating list of spots including: Brassneck, Bomber, Strange Fellows, Off the Rail and more for $75 plus tax a piece. The ticket includes a flight of four brews at each location (equalling around a pint) and they also offer a food and beer tour which breaks for dinner at Big Rock Urban Brewery for $85. Perfect for beer lovers or anyone keen on an introduction to the world of craft brew. If you're in Victoria, you can try out these other tours: Off the Eaten Track Tours, and West Coast Brewery Tours.
4. The Bottle Opener To End All Bottle Openers
Hermetus Bottle Opener. This is the over-achiever of bottle accessories: it opens, it unscrews, it reseals! According to the manufacturer, Kiosk, they even tested it on a bottle of Prosecco (fancy) and it really worked. All this for $15! Find it in Vancouver at shopneighbour.com.
5. Big Brew Saver
Bottle Toppers. Sometimes you find yourself tucking into a cold one and getting full-up halfway (it happens to the best of us). Particularly with those big-boy-sized bottles that craft breweries like to pump out (we're looking at you Townsite), it would be so nice to avoid the remorseful pour out of your fine Belgian ale the next day. This is why these fun, multi-coloured bottle toppers make for excellent gifts and stocking stuffers! They're around $2 to $5 each and you they often feature the insignia of the brewery (like these ones from Townsite in Powell River). (Vancouver Brewery Tours also sells them online).
6. IPA Your Way
Beer Making Kit White IPA. Get a piece of the microbrewery magic with this at-home, "apartment-friendly" do-it-yourself beer making kit from the Brooklyn Brew Shop (available at Chapters Indigo). It touts step-by-step instructions to produce a full gallon of (insert your name here)'s Special Brew ($60).
7. The Beer of the Ball
Artful Growler. These portable beer jugs are fast becoming the art of the people, a mode of expression and personal taste. Myriad breweries have been experimenting with branding their fleet of growlers, but no one does it better (IMO) than Brassneck Brewery in Vancouver. Maggie Boyd—reportedly an old friend to the Brassneck crew and staffer at the brewery's big sister restaurant the Alibi Room—is the talented hand behind these quirky illustrations on a range of subjects from the beautiful (school of goldfish, floral bouquet etc.) to the seemingly mundane (toaster, chair, deflated soccer ball). All equally awesome and available in three sizes (474 ml for $3, 1 litre for $5, 1.9 litre for $7).