It’s only November and televisions are already dominated by commercials hawking Christmas gifts. Old Saint Nick is being co-opted to sell cars, flat screens and cell phones. The anxiety of buying Christmas gifts seems to start earlier every year.
If you’re struggling to decide what to buy for the beer lover in your life, don’t worry. The Beer Muse has you covered.
Here are five gift ideas ranging from $10 to $100 that will satisfy the beer lover in your life and help support the local Maine economy.
Have you ever shared a pint with a friend or family member and heard her say, “I should brew beer.” Beer is relatively easy to make – it’s essentially only four ingredients – and a kit that will get a homebrewer started costs about $100. There are ten homebrew supply stores spread around Maine where you can purchase a starter kit. This is a generous gift, but the beer lover in your life will not only be ecstatic, she will also be sure to give you lots of free homebrew!
One of the best ways to experience the thriving beer scene in southern Maine is to get on one of the two buses running brewery tours. The Maine Brew Bus (the green bus) and Maine Beer Tours (the white bus) offer tours to selected breweries in Cumberland and York counties. Do some research to see which bus is right for your beer-drinking friend, and purchase a gift certificate. Tours run from $45 to $75. (Full disclosure: I’m a part-time employee of the Maine Brew Bus.)
Fact: People who nerd out over craft beer love to read books about craft beer. Local writer and beer drinker Josh Christie has written an accessible book that frames the evolution of Maine’s beer scene from Prohibition through today’s craft beer boom. “Brewing in Vacationland” will run you about $20 and is a must read for any Maine beer enthusiast. Find it on amazon.com.
From Kittery to Liberty, the Pine State is smattered with breweries filling growlers with delicious craft beer. Growlers are 64-ounce or 32-ounce containers filled right at a brewery. Buying a growler of beer for a friend will run you about $15 ($5 for the deposit, $10 for the beer). This is a two-fold gift. First, your friend gets beer. (Mmmm…beer.) And secondly, he now owns a growler, and you’ve given him a reason to regularly visit his local brewery.
Over the coming weeks, carefully observe the brewery preferences of the craft beer lover in your life. Once you’ve tuned in to the beer enthusiast’s predilection for local beer, head to the brewery and buy some merchandise. Maine breweries slap their logos on stylish trucker hats, t-shirts, sweatshirts, pint glasses, beer steins, and bottle openers. Merchandise starts at around $10 and will give your beer buddy the street cred she craves.
As a Maine beer drinker who loves beer gifts, I am confident that this list will help you get through the anxiety-inducing Holiday shopping season. Remember that the day after Black Friday is Small Business Saturday – a great day to purchase a beer gift for a friend and support our vibrant local economy.
OTHER BEER HAPPENINGS NEAR YOU
CHECK OUT OXBOW BREWING’S “BLENDING AND BOTTLING” TASTING ROOM | 49 Washington Ave., Portland | www.oxbowbeer.com
Oxbow has been quietly constructing a Portland location since the spring. They opened the space to the public a couple of weeks ago, and boy is it marvelous. In this large open room with a rustic wooden bar and a plethora of picnic tables, Portland drinkers can sip sours and saisons from Oxbow without having to drive to Newcastle. Because the tasting room is so new, visit Oxbow’s website for hours and a tap list.
Take a look: First look at Oxbow’s Portland tasting room
“DAYS OF MY YOUTH” MOVIE PREMIERE | Friday; doors open at 6:30 p.m.; $10 | Rising Tide Brewing Company, 103 Fox St., Portland | www.risingtidebrewing.com
I love skiing, and I love beer. On Friday, Rising Tide Brewing pares up with Volition Ski to give us both with the premiere of extreme skiing movie “Days of My Youth.” I don’t know about you, but I’m itching to get on the slopes, and there’s no better way to get stoked for the ensuing ski season than watching a jaw-dropping skiing movie while sipping well-crafted beer. Volition will have ski gear for sale, and viewers are automatically entered to win ski tickets with ticket purchase.