The saying goes, “Friends bring happiness into your life at the holidays, but best friends bring beer.” If there’s a beer fan on your shopping list, you may graduate to best friend this season with these tasty, simple and fun holiday gifts. Many craft beer treats are locally produced and sold in Petaluma, making this a filling holiday season for beer lovers.
No beer lover would turn down a sample pack of new-to-me beers, and many breweries and retailers allow you to mix and match four- or six-packs with different varieties of IPAs, pilsners and seasonal beers. Willibees (Petaluma) even gives a discount for some variety packs. Local breweries like Lagunitas, HenHouse, 101 North and Dempsey’s serve up fresh beer in growlers and crowlers for quick gifts. ($4 - $20).
One of our favorite beer gifts is the Brewer’s Advent Calendar available at Costco for around $70. Patient beer fans can count down the days of the holiday season marked by 24 high quality German imports, and try new styles like kölsch, dunkel, weiss, and zwickel beer. Impatient beer fans who don’t want to count down to Christmas can chill the whole pack and then pop out cans whenever they feel the urge. Other retailers like BevMo and Bottle Barn offer holiday packs of seasonal and winter beers.
Fresh beer is always in season, and Hopsy now makes a countertop mini-keg system for an in-home draught beer experience. This allows beer fans to sip locally brewed Lagunitas, Marin Brewing Co. and 101 North at home. ($180). Hopsy is a Richmond-based business, so this gift is still fairly local. Find it at hopsy.beer.
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For a longer lasting gift, sign up for a beer membership at Beer Craft, a taproom and bottle shop with locations in Novato and Rohnert Park. With a broad assortment of quality ales and lagers, this is a great way for beer followers to sample harder-to-find beers like Sante Adairius Rustic Ales (Capitola), Pure Project (San Diego), Cellarmaker (San Francisco, and the Rare Barrel (Berkeley). On the pricier end, The Bruery (Orange County) offers beer society membership subscriptions for wild and sour ales, and barrel-aged bottles. Beer of the month clubs also offer rare beers and international beer samplings. ($25 to $60 per month, subscriptions $280 to $450 per year).
If the timing is right, look for tickets to local brewmaster dinners or beer pairing events like Lagunitas’ recent four-course dinner paired with seasonal beers hosted by Brewsters, the first in their “Makers Series Dinners,” which are tentatively scheduled for the first Wednesday of each month. Stockhome currently has a brewers’ dinner planned for Wednesday, Nov. 28, revolving around a special collaborative Brut IPA between HenHouse and Social Kitchen Brewery, and featuring caviar and Swedish specialties. (Check EventBrite or Houston Porter’s “Tip of My Tongue” column in this paper for upcoming beer dinners). Beer pairing dinners also give beer fans a chance to geek out over kettle sours, barrel-aged anything and hazy IPAs with their favorite brewers in smaller settings. Expect a cost of around $75 per ticket.
You can also give the gift of experience with tickets to annual beer tasting celebrations like San Francisco International Beer Festival (April), or our local Lagunitas Beer Circus (September) and Sonoma County Battle of the Brews (April). Prices range from $30 to $150 per ticket.