Chances are if you’re a beer geek, always bring craft beer to share at any family gathering, or have even ever expressed an interest in craft beer around a family member, you’ll receive your fair share of beer gifts for the holidays this year. And while another few bottles for the fridge or cellar always make a fine present, why not take the opportunity to further your (or a loved one’s) beer education? Check out these educational beer gift ideas, for beginners and the more advanced.
Starting Out: A Beermaking Starter Equipment Kit
A homebrew kit, innocently gifted by a family member or spouse, is often the instigator for an amateur beer lover to move from a casual interest to a full-fledged passion and potentially even a career. Start a friend or family member down the path of homebrew obsession with a brewing starter kit from a local homebrew supply store or Strange Brew. Starter kits range from 1-gallon kits (for those who want to start small) to 5- or 6-gallon kits that include all the equipment needed to brew (and in some cases bottle) five or six gallons of beer.
Continuing Education: Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine™ Subscription and Online Education
Know someone already hooked on homebrewing? Give him or her the gift of a subscription to Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine™ and provide 6 issues a year that include exclusive interviews and advice from world-class brewers, in-depth coverage of brewing trends, tips for getting the most out of his/her homebrew, reviews of the latest and greatest brewing equipment and products, and beer recipes for every level and style of homebrewer.
Or give the gift of Craft Beer & Brewing’s online learning resource where your homebrewer can subscribe to all classes or buy single classes. Featured classes include Adding Flavors to Beer, Introduction to Lagering, Introduction to Recipe Development, and Care & Feeding of Yeast.
Starting Out: Tasting Beer by Randy Mosher is the ultimate beginner’s guide to beer. The comprehensive and easy-to-read book covers some beer history, the process of brewing, and a helpful guide to identifying what exactly you’re tasting. The Complete Beer Course by Joshua M. Bernstein, structured around beer styles, is equally comprehensive and accessible and looks great on any coffee table or bar top.
Continuing Education: The Oxford Companion to Beer, edited by Garrett Oliver, is still the book to beat in terms of beer geekdom (and it looks pretty impressive on any bookshelf). Vintage Beer by Patrick Dawson, on aging beers, is perfect for the cellar nerds, and American Sour Beers by Michael Tonsmeire provides a guide for homebrewers ready to tap into their wild side.
Starting Out: Beer Styles Profile Cards
Whether studying for the Certified Beer Server or Cicerone exam, this set of beer style flashcards will save a student a lot of time (and hand cramps) from making his or her own. The set includes the SRM (color), IBU (perceived bitterness), ABV (alcohol by volume), and history of forty-seven beer-style profiles with a ring binding. It’s easy to throw in your bag or back pocket and take along to study on the train, bus, or subway.
Continuing Education: Road to Cicerone Course
The Cicerone program has recently rolled out new comprehensive courses, including twelve to twenty individual lessons and a final online multiple-choice exam, to help guide cicerone-hopefuls along their educational journey. German Beer Styles and British & Irish Styles are out currently, with new programs including Draft Systems & Maintenance and Brewing Process & Ingredients to come soon.