Cyber Monday kicks off our 2015 beer geek holiday gift guide with part 1 of this essential list of gadgets, gear, tools, tech, and books for the beer lover. In part 1 of our gift guide you will find everything from beer briefcases to wall hanging beer art, homebrew equipment, wearables, readables and beer and cooking necessities. Check back early next week for part two of the big 2015 guide.
The ultimate in beer transportation from holiday parties to bottle shares and tailgates. Plus at some point you might even use it to carry something non-beer related. The Mountainsmith Deluxe Cooler Cube Bag is soft sided so its easily foldable and packable but is also waterproof, insulated and durable. Best of all it comes with a mesh side zipped pocket that folds down to reveal a fine beverage display to take with you anywhere fine adult beverages may be enjoyed (which is everywhere). On sale right now for only $48.91 on Amazon.
Everyone seems to have a keychain bottle opener these days but the Batman Multi Tool Bottle Opener is numerous cool factor points above the rest. It’s the Dark Knight of bottle openers, as if opening a beer and looking badass were not enough, the two wings have a crosshead screwdriver and a flathead screwdriver between them. It’s like your Batman, McGyver and Homer Simpson in one simple device. Only $16.04 on Amazon.
The name may be tacky but this mini-keg growler might be the best on the market. Sturdy durable and classic design of a keg and it comes in a full gallon size, twice as large as regular growlers. It is a piece of cake to attach the cobra tap and affordable and recyclable gas canister to deliver draft beer on the go or fit to slide into a refrigerator door.
Douglas Fir Beer Coasters
These Oregon made Doug Fir Beer Coasters are a perfect stocking stuffer or gift exchange item. They look great and keep your polished wood tables beer ring free and you are supporting a small local business by purchasing them. They are handmade in Eugene and only $12 for a 4-pack at Esty.com
2016 Beers of Oregon Calendar
Watch the months of 2016 fly by with a different Oregon beer label featured each month of the year. The 2016 edition features art/labels from Gigantic Brewing, GoodLife Brewing, Alameda Brewing, Cascade Lakes, Oregon Trail and Upright Brewing labels from yours truly (featuring one of my favorites — Oyster Stout). A reasonable $14.99 on Amazon.
Transport your beer with class, or like that kid everyone made fun of in high school who carried around a briefcase full of homework. The beer briefcase keeps your precious adult malt beverages in foam lining to keep them from breaking or rattling. Great for checked baggage, or simply getting on a bus, train or car to deliver the goods to your black market beer buyer or trader. $44.27 on Amazon.
The PicoBrew is admittedly a serious investment but what better way to tell a loved one your tired of them messing up the kitchen stove and tripping over carboys and recycled glass bottles than a mini automated brewsystem? Avoid the mess of boil overs and borderline undrinkable homebrew with the PicoBrew system and don’t spend an entire day over a boil kettle and a mash tun.
Do you like food? Do you like beer? A new book from Portland author Christian de Benedetti (also founder of the upcoming Wolves & People Farmhouse Brewery) and Andrea Slonecker features 65 painstakingly practiced and prepared beer recipes from all over the globe. From appetizers to main dishes, most easy to only slightly advanced to complete and all with enlightened beer pairing tips and great photos. Add it to your cook or beer book collection immediately. On sale now at Amazon for $8 off the suggested retail price.
The Beer Cap Maps are the perfect gift for the beer traveling tourist or bottle cap collector. The wall mounted hand crafted wood map is available in various states or an entire country. A collector or tourist can fill in caps for all the breweries they have visited or sampled and it makes an awesome art display and conversation piece. Holds over 100 caps and is easy to hang and is sold unfinished so you can paint it if you wish. $49.99 on Amazon or you can find an individual state map for only about $35.
Beer flavored lip balm from Dogfish Head Brewery soothes your chapped lips during this blustery season while leaving a kiss of hops and barley to remember your last pint by. Only $3 for Dogfish.com
Craft Check App
These days it’s hard to remember what brewery is owned by who, (did Ballast Point sell to AB/InBev or Molson Coors? neither) so the Craft Check App does the work for you if that’s something you care about. Simply scan the barcode on the bottle or can or enter the name of the brewery manually. The app will also tell you about the company who owns the brand. The new 2.0 version of the app is FREE, that’s a very good price, though it’s only available from the apple app store for now at https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/craft-check/id775598291
Many breweries have branched out to offer their own mustards, ketchups and hot sauce that use their beer as an ingredient. Stone Brewing’s trinity of hot sauces are the best that I have had so far. Three different versions of Arrogant Bastard and three distinctly different hot sauces. I am a huge fan of the Oaked Arrogant Bastard Ale Chipotle Sauce, I swear you can taste the oak, vanilla and smoke in it. The other 5oz bottles are a Arrogant Bastard Ale Jalapeo Heat Sauce and Double Bastard Ale Double Burn Habaero Sauce. Worth it for $19.95 a 3-pack on Amazon.
Founder of The New School and most frequent contributor Ezra Johnson-Greenough has worked in the craft beer industry for almost 10 years, doing everything from illustrating beer labels to bartending at renowned beer bars and breweries like Belmont Station, Apex, Laurelwood and Upright Brewing. He has also had a hand in creating events like the Portland Fruit Beer Festival, Portland Beer Week, and the Brewing up Cocktails series. He is available for freelance consultation in marketing, events, graphic design and branding.