Christmas is the time for giving. That is, for giving great beer-related gifts to the loved ones in your life.
Without a doubt, someone close to you has caught the craft beer bug and is in the thralls of a Stage 5, Maine-beer obsession.
Luckily, the local talent surrounding the Maine beer scene offers a smattering of creative gift options. Here are five gift ideas to satiate the beer lover in your life. How do I know these gifts will be a hit? The merchandise below is what I’ve been lusting for all year.
(Hint, hint, Santa. I’ve only been the good kind of naughty this year.)
Stainless steel pint tumbler, $8 – $24
I’ve been pining after one of these since a shiny glint of one first caught my eye at Maine Beer Co. Stainless steel tumblers pour a true pint and are great for camping, the beach and keg parties. These are handsome glasses at stocking-stuffer prices. Purchase at a number of establishments, including Maine Beer Co., Allagash Brewing and the Bier Cellar.
To purchase the Maine Beer Co. stainless steel tumbler, go to maine-beer-company.myshopify.com
Winter hat with brewery logo, $12 – $18
The Farmer’s Almanac is calling for a snowy winter, making these beanies from Maine breweries a hip and practical Christmas gift. Brewery apparel has come a long way over the past five years, and these hats show that breweries are taking the time to design fetching gear. This fall, I’ve been eying hats from Foundation, Oxbow, Banded Horn and Rising Tide.
To purchase an Oxbow winter hat, go to www.etsy.com
“What’s Brewing in New England: A Guide to Brewpubs and Microbreweries,” by Kate Cone, $16.95
Maine’s own Kate Cone has been ingrained in the beer scene since 1994, when she worked for the then-newly opened Shipyard Brewing Co. “What’s Brewing in New England” is an updated version of the edition she first published in 1997. Released in 2016 by Down East Books, Cone’s newest edition is currently the comprehensive guide to blissing out on beer in New England. I suggest you purchase this book at Print, the new Portland bookstore co-owned by Josh Christie, another fantastic beer writer in Maine. (And pick up Christie’s “Brewing in Vacationland” while you’re there.)
Hoodie sweatshirt with brewery logo, $40 – $55
A cozy hoodie with the emblem from your loved one’s favorite brewery just might gain you hero status this holiday season. Who doesn’t like a hoodie? No one you want to be friends with, that’s who. Do some sleuthing to find out what brewery he or she adores, then head to the tasting room to pick up a sweatshirt. (And you might as well drink some beer while you’re there.) Just about every brewery that sells merchandise sells hooded sweatshirts.
To purchase a hoodie from Banded Horn Brewing, go to squareup.com
Homebrewing starter kit, $90
This is the only repeat gift from my past lists, but it’s worth echoing. Gift a man a beer, and he drinks for a day; gift a man a homebrew kit, and he drinks for a lifetime. And you will too, as the benevolent gifter. The staff at Maine Brewing Supply on Forest Avenue is friendly and uber-knowledgeable, and they can set you up with a starter kit to get a loved one brewing beer in no time. Who knows, your gift could incubate the next big brewer in Maine.
For a gift card to Maine Brewing Supply, go to mkt.com
There is no shortage of options if you’re looking to please a beer lover on your Christmas shopping list. And don’t forget to shop local for all your gifts this winter. A dollar spent locally is a dollar invested in your community.
OTHER BEER HAPPENINGS
Chocolate and Phantom Punch tap takeover pairing at Baxter Brewing
6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Friday, 130 Mill St., Lewiston. $12 per person. www.facebook.com
Baxter Brewing Co.’s Phantom Punch Winter Stout is one of my favorite Maine stouts. This creamy dark beer is conditioned with cocoa nibs and whole vanilla beans giving it smooth chocolate and vanilla overtones above the roasted malts. On Friday, Baxter will offer a chocolate pairing with four limited edition Phantom Punch stouts. The signature stout will be infused separately with coffee, peppermint, habanero and passion fruit. Phantom Punch offers a great canvas to add these diverse flavors. Expect each infusion to have its own complex interplay with the cocoa and the vanilla flavors. I’m dying to try the habanero infusion. Paired with locally made chocolates, this event will hit the spot on a Friday night in December.
Feast of the Flying Pig at Foundation Brewing Co.
11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, 1 Industrial Way, Portland. www.eventbrite.com
If you want a true taste of the brewing food chain, check out this pig roast at Foundation Brewing Co. on Sunday. The guys from Locally Sauced are roasting a whole pig from North Star Farm in Windham overnight on Saturday at the brewery. This pig has been fed on spent grain from Foundation throughout the year. Foundation will also be releasing 750 milliliter bottles of its 2014 Forge, a luscious Russian imperial stout. A big stout, a grain-fattened pig, oh, and BP’s Shuck Shack will be shucking fresh oysters throughout the event. It’s $12 for a plate of pig, $20 for a bottle of Forge and the oysters are pay as you go. Pre-register at the link above to be sure you get some pig.