If you have someone in your life who really loves beer, you probably want to aim higher than gifting them a six-pack or one of those gimmicky beer accessories like a helmet with two straws. To help find the stuff they’ll truly appreciate and enjoy — we’re talking classic glassware, beautiful openers they’ll keep for a lifetime, coffee-table books that will make them the most knowledgable person in the (tap)room, and more — we consulted a group of experts. These brewers and brewmasters, beer writers, and beer nerds had strong opinions and unexpected ideas, which we’ve rounded up below. We also took a deep dive through our archives and pulled some items we’ve written about before that still feel relevant and thoughtful.
Yeti coolers, which we’ve deemed the best coolers on the market, are beloved by pretty much anyone who uses them for their virtual indestructibility and the fact that they keep food and drinks (and ice!) cold for literal hours on end. If the beer lover in your life is more of a stay-in-place kind of person (maybe their fridge is bursting at the seams with bottles and they need extra storage, or maybe they just like to have a lot of options when they host), consider a hard Yeti cooler. Again, Yeti is a no-fail; even James Murphy, the owner of the restaurant and wine bar Four Horsemen in Williamsburg (and LCD Soundsystem front man), stands by Yeti. “Nothing ever gets warm in there,” he says. “It’s bonkers.”
For a hands-free option, try this IceMule backpack-style cooler, which comes in three sizes, the largest of which can hold up to 18 cans of beer plus ice. The bag is zipper-free and has welded seams, so it’s completely waterproof and can even float, making it an excellent choice for those who like to take their brew on camping, beach, or boat trips.
For beer lovers who wait in line outside their favorite breweries on a weekly basis, Matt Monahan, co-founder of Other Half Brewing Company, recommends a Dayventure beer cooler from Pelican. “This company makes amazing, high-quality coolers that match up every bit to the competitors and then some,” he says. “This cooler in particular fits 4 packs of 16oz cans perfectly.”
Strategist writer Dominique Pariso first turned us on to Brümate’s stainless-steel coozies when she wrote that they kept her slender White Claw ice cold, even on a hot summer day. Luckily for the beer drinker in your life, BrüMate’s Hopsulator coozie comes in a standard size that’ll keep their favorite 12-ounce bottles of IPA ice cold, too.
Since glass isn’t allowed on many beaches or in some state parks, your favorite beer lover is probably hauling cans whenever they drink outside. But cans warm quickly. Mary Izett, co-owner of Fifth Hammer Brewing Co. in Queens, New York, recommends the Yeti Colster, a can insulator. “They’re lightweight, durable, and keep your beer at the appropriate temperature on the hottest of days,” she says.
If you want to get even more specific about summer drinking, Tim Rozmus, the content-marketing manager at Brooklyn Brewery, has had his eye on these insulated life jackets — for your beer cans. “I’m a boat guy,” he explains. “They’re just a fun twist on a relatively normal thing.”
Here’s the thing: Popping a beer in the freezer to cool it down is cheap and effective. But if you forget about it, the clean up when the can explodes can be a real pain. That’s why Andrew Burman of Other Half Brewing Co. recommends getting a rapid cooler like the Cooper. “Having a rapid cooler for beer, wine, or Champagne is key, especially for last-minute gatherings,” Burman says. “This cooler is on my wish list (hint hint).”
An insulated growler from Stanely — which makes some of our favorite thermoses and mugs — is the perfect thing for him to fill with his favorite grisette or DIPA and keep it ice-cold all day.
We also love this vacuum-insulated growler from Hydro Flask (the brand that also makes our very favorite water bottle). It would make a perfect companion to the Yeti cooler on your beer-loving friend’s next camping trip.
We’ve written about Corkcicle’s wine chiller before, but did you know the company also makes them for beer? If your recipient keeps these in the freezer, they can pull them out any time they leave a bottle sitting out too long.
“If you want to get some fancy glasses, Spiegelau has really nice stuff specifically designed for specific styles,” David Zuskov, the brewer and lab manager at Almanac Beer Co. in Alameda, California, explains. “The IPA glass really makes a difference. I drank the same beer out of their glass and a pint glass, and you can taste so much more flavor from theirs.”
If you’re not sure what style of beer they enjoy the most, but still want to upgrade their glassware from novelty pint glasses, give them a Spiegelau four-piece tasting set, which comes with the IPA glass, a glass for stouts, and one for American wheat beer.
Cory Bonfiglio, co-owner of Beer Street in New York City, says one of the best gifts to give right now is a gift card to the recipient’s favorite beer shop. “It’s not remotely sexy, but gift cards from local beer shops and breweries would be incredibly helpful in this time,” he says. To complete the gift, he also suggests throwing in a pair of “beautiful, classic, and inexpensive compared to quality wine stemware” Teku glasses.
We’ve written about the mini Bodega glasses from Luigi Bormioli as the best wine glasses, but there’s also a 17-ounce version of the glass that’s the perfect size for a pint. (Plus these are the same pint glasses they use in the tasting rooms of cult Danish brewery Mikkeller.)
Another classic glassware recommendation, courtesy of Rozmus, is the nonic pint glass. With a bulge that helps catch aromas and makes for a nice grip, especially if you like to put your glassware in the freezer before drinking, it’s more refined than your standard straight-sided pint glass. “They’re high-quality and really durable,” Rozmus says. “I think they would make an especially nice gift for someone who just turned 21 or who just moved into their first apartment.”
Rebecca Carey, the food-and-beverage director at the Viceroy Chicago hotel, is a fan of these pint glasses, which pay homage to a particular place; you can choose from several different ones. “They have a blown ‘mountain’ at the base, which I think make them fun and handsome,” she says. At $50 a pop, they’re definitely a splurge, but that makes them a great gift for someone looking to elevate their drinking experience (including yourself).
While these were originally recommended to us by interior designer Katy Byrne as great everyday water glasses, they’d work just as well for beer. They’re “the perfect weight with an elegant detail that not only looks nice but provides the perfect grip spot,” she says.
Laura Monahan, a buyer at Union Beer Distributors, owns and likes these iconic Miller High Life coupes. “I just think they’re so funny,” she says. “I’ve used them for special occasions like New Year’s Eve. And you can obviously use them for other drinks, too.”
“One year for Christmas, my mom gave me a shadow box that you fill with your used bottle caps. She also gave me a wall-mounted bottle opener built from a melted Toasted Lager bottle. It was the perfect combo,” says Dan Jansen, brewmaster and director of brewery operations at Blue Point Brewing Company. “The challenge became filling the shadowbox by the next Christmas, and I definitely rose to it.” While these aren’t the same shadow box and bottle opener Jansen has, they’re just as compelling to get your beer-loving buddy to get busy (responsibly) filling up that box.
For a particularly sophisticated gift, Chris Leon, owner and wine director of Leon & Son in Brooklyn, recommends FS Objects’ beer opener (and wine stoppers, too). It’s on the pricey end, but it’s so well designed and solidly made that it’ll last a lifetime.
The lambic beer drinker in your life, though, will need a corkscrew to get to the good stuff (bottles of lambic are corked, not capped). For them, consider this cheerful option from iconic Italian design company Alessi that Strategist contributor Chris Black recommends. Her name is Anna G. and she was designed by Alessandro Mendini in 1994.
For a corkscrew that can handle both corks and caps, Tara Hankinson, co-founder of Talea Beer Co. in Brooklyn, recommends this classic waiter’s corkscrew, the best one she’s ever used. “It’s great for beer bottles, but where it really shines is opening corked bottles, which is often during a special occasion,” she says. “The knife helps to remove any wax or label and ease out any Belgian-style corks with a cage.”
Don’t let unfinished ones to go to waste; former Strategist editor Jason Chen tipped us off to this bottle resealer a few years ago. “It has fun diagrammatic instructions etched right on it,” he says.
Sal Taccetta, head brewer at Brooklyn’s 18th Ward Brewing, was gifted this bottle opener nearly a decade ago and has been using it ever since. Because its handle mimics that of a screwdriver (Craftsman specializes in serious tools), this accessory’s handle has a nice feel in the hand, Taccetta says.
For a more design-y option, this Georg Jensen bottle opener comes recommended by designer Ben Kicic, who first spotted it at a friend’s house and immediately asked where it was from. It “has a strong graphic element, but because of its size, it’s not too loud or overbearing,” he says. “And clearly it works as a conversation starter.”
This can opener can turn any aluminum can — from slim coolers to 16 ounce tall boys — into a smooth-edged, open-top cup. “The Draft Top Lift is sort of like a fancy can-opener with a rotational blade that sits inside the rim of the can to cut and lift out the top, pull tab and all,” explains Strategist writer Brenley Goertzen. “Not only does it make a great party trick, but it has also elevated the flavor profile of all sorts of beverages.”
Okay, this is the opposite of an opener — but if you ever find yourself with an unfinished special bottle on hand, Ash Croce, a New York City–based bartender who has been in craft beer for seven years, says this stopper (also beloved in the wine world) will keep it fresh for days: “We used them for weekend bottle pours at a bar I worked at, and they’d preserve the carbonation on the bottle beautifully,” she says. She says the size and price point make it a perfect stocking stuffer.
Several of our sources suggested finding a way to support a local brewery. Good news: A lot of them make merch (and you can find some specific suggestions for those items below). But Chris Cuzme, the other co-owner of Fifth Hammer Brewing Co., is a fan of experiences. “We have more breweries in the United States than ever before,” he says. “My biggest and best recommendation is one that includes a gift certificate to your local brewery. Bonus points for making that plural and curating a brewery crawl for your loved ones. Encourage people to drink fresh from the source and get to know, and contribute to, craft-beer culture.”
Laura Monahan echoes that sentiment. She calls out Talea, which she says offers a “nice starting point” for anyone who simply enjoys drinking beer but maybe hasn’t gone to a ton of breweries. Talea’s experiences include curated beer-and-cheese tastings and even a yoga class followed by drinks. “It’s owned and operated by two lovely ladies,” she says, “and their taproom is really nice.”
If they can’t go to the source, consider giving them a mixed pack of selections from a favorite. Laura Monahan appreciates that many local breweries have options to build your own case or mixed boxes based on style. “Sometimes it’s hard to make your own pack, but I know that my dad likes IPAs, or maybe you know that your friend likes lagers,” she says. “This way, you can pick a style, and they do the rest for you.”
“We’ve had these for a few years, and every time the weather starts to cool down, they pop out of the ground like mushrooms,” says Rozmus. “I see people all over the neighborhood wearing them. I’m obviously a little bit biased, but it’s cool to be able to wear merch from the places you support.” Brooklyn Brewery also makes the same sweatshirts — “cozy and not too heavy,” Rozmus notes — in more muted gray and olive shades.
[Editor’s note: These sweatshirts are currently sold out, but you can sign up to be notified when they’re back in stock. And you can take a look at Brooklyn Brewery’s other merch here.]
When Strategist senior editor Chelsea Peng was in Montréal last week, she picked up this bottle-opener keychain from Messorem. She likes the round shape, subtler than having a long bar opener hanging from your keys, as well as the weight, which makes it feel high-quality. “Also, their starry skeleton motif, which is present in a lot of their (very good) merch, is spooky but wholesome,” she says.
If the beer lover in your life already has too much glassware and other non-disposable trinkets, consider giving them something that eventually goes away, Laura Monahan says. Of course, that can mean beer itself, but she also suggests this fun candle, a collaboration between Budweiser and Homesick (we’ve suggested its candles in the past, calling them highly giftable and “a really good bang for your buck”).
“I adore Grimm’s aesthetic,” Croce says. “Their glassware is so elegant and whimsical. I would hang prints of their designs in my home.” She also appreciates the clothing and owns several of its shirts and sweatshirts. “Because I bartend, I don’t always wanna wear merch outside of work, but this stuff I really like,” she says. “It fits into my personal style.”
Taccetta echos the idea that merch always makes a great gift. Because he does a lot of fishing and kayaking, he chose this bucket hat from Yakima Valley Hops, an actual hops supplier he uses at the brewery.
Rozmus also recommends a tote bag, T-shirt, or beer cooler from the NYC Brewers Guild, which is basically a collective of almost every brewery in the city for sharing knowledge, resources, and support. This line in particular gives 100 percent of the proceeds to local anti-racist education and programming. “The beer industry can be a rather homogeneous space,” Rozmus says, “so anything we can do to cut through that clutter is a positive thing.”
If you really want to wow your cold-one swigging loved one, try this snazzy stainless-steel growler that doubles as a tap and also features a pressure gauge and a carbonation cap that “automatically regulates pressure to optimally carbonate beer,” according to the product description.
If your favorite beer drinker is also a goal setter, Matt Monahan recommends gifting them Pop Chart’s eye-catching Breweries of the United States poster, featuring nearly 6,000 beer producers. It even features regional color-coding to indicate areas with the most breweries per capita (see Pittsburgh, Albuquerque, and the entire state of Vermont). Just be sure to also gift them map pins so they can get started marking the ones they’ve tried.
Probably the best gift you could give someone who loves beer is, well, beer. To that end, Nikki McCutcheon, the beverage director at Magic Hour Rooftop Bar and Lounge at the Moxy Times Square hotel, recommends gifting a subscription to a “beer of the month” club from Beer Across America, which, according to her, “offers a customizable monthly subscription of beer samples from all over the country your beer lover is sure to enjoy.” Each month, for however long you choose, Beer Across America delivers four varieties of award-winning beer from two independent craft breweries that have been curated by a panel of experts. If your beer enthusiast can’t hit the road discovering new brews on their own, this subscription is their best bet.
For the beer lover in your life who may occasionally be overserved, we suggest gifting them a six-pack of this hangover cure. “I’m not a heavy drinker, but after more than one or two drinks down the pub — I live in London — I wake up feeling groggy, nauseated, and with faint memories of heart-reacting to 16 acquaintances’ Instagram Stories,” admits Strategist writer Rachael Griffiths. On a vacation to Tokyo she tried Ukon no Chikara, a popular hangover-prevention drink, before a night out and woke up “feeling fresh and well rested.” Although she was nervous that an inevitable hangover would “creep in and pounce late in the day,” she felt great all day, and now swears by the blend.
“If the person is a novice home brewer, you can get them a basic setup kit,” says Zuskov, the brewer and lab manager at Almanac. He likes the home-brew starter kit from MoreBeer, an East Bay-based company.
For someone who wants to dip their toe into home brew, this more affordable kit comes with everything he needs to brew his first batch of beer, including hops, IPA grain mix, and reusable equipment like a glass fermentation jug, thermometer, racking cane, tubing, tubing clamp, screw-cap stopper, and airlock. And if he isn’t into IPA, Brooklyn Brew Shop sells other beer mixes, too.
“If the person is more advanced, maybe upgrade one of their pieces of equipment,” advises Zuskov. “If they’re using a plastic bucket to ferment, maybe buy them a glass carboy.” And whether you’re buying home-brew equipment for a new or experienced brewer, consider also getting them grain, malt, and hops.
For a gift that doesn’t feel over the top or gimmicky but will still tap into their love of beer, Croce recommends searching for a vintage beer tray. There are tons on Etsy and eBay, so you’re sure to find something that fits your price range and their aesthetic. They can hang it up, leave it out as décor, or keep it for more practical purposes.
For a big gift, Croce suggests a dedicated beer fridge. “Not only will it save you room in your regular fridge, but it has temperature control,” she says. That way, you can store bottles and cans at their optimal degree. “Plus it just looks really nice,” she says.
“In terms of giving a beer-related gift, I would have to say that the Oxford Companion to Beer is a great option,” says Zach Mack, beer writer and owner of Alphabet City Beer Co. and Governors Island Beer Co. “It’s perfect for someone who already knows a little bit about beer and wants to learn more, but doesn’t want to dive into the insanely overcrowded realm of beer books. It’s a very concise and tightly written encyclopedic record for beer that’s remarkably approachable given its depth. And even if they don’t end up using it every time they crack a beer, it looks nice on a bookshelf or coffee table.” Rozmus echos this sentiment. “It incorporates so many topics and features a ton of voices,” he says. “It covers everything from technical knowledge to cultural impacts of the beer industry.”
The editor of the Oxford Companion, Garrett Oliver, is the brewmaster at Brooklyn Brewery and the 2014 winner of the James Beard Award for Excellent Wine, Beer, or Spirits Professional. His first book, The Brewmaster’s Table, is also a good read for someone who knows they like drinking beer but doesn’t know much about the history or different styles of brewing.
“I can’t recommend Randy Mosher’s Tasting Beer enough for anyone who wants to develop and refine their palate and develop a better understanding of the sensory components of the beer they’re drinking,” says Izett. “Honestly, if you drink beer, you need this book.”
“It’s impossible for me to overlook how instrumental Josh Bernstein’s The Complete Beer Course was in motivating me to dig deeper into the infinite world of beer,” says Blake Tomnitz, co-founder and CEO of Five Boroughs Brewing Co. “Not to mention, it helped solidify my desire to work in the beer industry. For someone who loves beer, it hits all the right notes.”
These books by the late English beer critic and author Michael Jackson (a.k.a. the Beer Hunter) — who is credited for kickstarting the North American microbrewery movement in the 1970s — are deep cuts for those who know. Mulligan told us they are some of her favorite beer gifts to give. “Both books are approachable for first-timers and don’t talk down to the amateur consumer,” she says. If your recipient prefers to crack open a beer instead of a book, Mulligan adds that these are just as good for displaying on a coffee table as they are for reading. While they’re out of print, you can still buy used copies on Amazon.
Sam Calagione is the founder of Dogfish Head, and Hankinson calls him “a pioneer of the craft-beer world.” The book combines expertise from his years in the beer world with practical entrepreneurship tips and strategies — a great choice if the person you’re gifting has ever thought about going into the business (or even if they’re just interested in how it works).
Taccetta says this magazine subscription — which starts at $40 for access to both print and digital for a year — would make a great gift for someone who’s a bit more advanced in their beer obsession (as opposed to just starting out). He subscribes himself and highlights the exclusive content, including recipes, articles, and a newsletter. If your recipient is thinking about getting into making beer or is an industry professional, there are two higher tiers that offer even more.
Additional reporting by Lauren Ro, Nikita Richardson, and Emma Wartzman
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