Stuck on what to get for that special beer lover in your life? Don't worry, we got you covered.
Well, it happened again, didn’t it?
You thought you were so damn clever in the summer, thinking that you would beat the crowd and get your holiday gifts sorted early. “I have plenty of time!” you said to yourself, enjoying the beautiful sunny day on the patio. And now it’s December and you’re already feeling the tension that comes with wondering what the hell to get the people in your life.
Well worry not! We’ve got you covered for some select items to purchase for that beer-lover in your life. From bottles of beer, to books, to some quality beer merch!
Now of course *ahem* you have already picked up The Ontario Craft Beer Guide, the directory of all the craft breweries in Ontario written by yours truly and Jordan St. John for a nice little stocking stuffer, so here are a few others that will make a great gift.
Drinks: A User’s Guide by Adam McDowell
The former drinks columnist for the National Post has created the perfect book for those who wish to up their game, not only in beer, but in wine, spirits, and cocktails as well. Learn how to create the perfect home bar, how to hone your palate so you can figure out exactly what you want to order, and how to mix the perfect martini. Available at Chapters/Indigo for $27.
The World Atlas of Beer, Revised & Expanded: The Essential Guide to the Beers of the World by Stephen Beaumont & Tim Webb
Two of the world’s leading experts in beer take you on a journey all over the globe in this revised edition of their incredible book, which includes rich illustrations, detailed overviews of regional beer styles, and full tasting notes on over 500 beers. With all of that, it’s safe to say this book will make you thirsty for more than just world travel. Available at Chapters/Indigo for $34.
Books aside, some of the best places to get things for the beer-loving person in your life isn’t usually in a mall, but in the very breweries they enjoy. Give them a chance to represent their favourite brewery by picking up some merch along with their favourite beer right from the source! As an added bonus, you get to feel good knowing you’re supporting local businesses!
Left Field Brewery
Got a baseball fan? Left Field Brewery has you set, with items available in their shop or online store. While there are individual items worth getting, the ultimate choice would be any one of the three gift combos they have going, which include items from a shirt, a pint glass, a sticker, and a tour pass (found in the Rookie Gift Combo), to all of that and a hat and canvas bag (in the All Star Gift Combo). While there, be sure to pick up this year’s batch of Bricks & Mortar Coffee Porter, brewed with Ana Sora Ethiopian coffee beans from Pilot Coffee Roasters and featuring beautiful flavours of vanilla, milk chocolate, and a tiny hint of strawberries and cream.
Mill Street Brewery
Every year, Mill Street Brewery tends to be the most beautiful location for picking up gifts. Located in the historic distillery district, treat yourself by getting into the Christmas Spirit with the wonderful sensory experience of the Christmas Market. If you can tear yourself away from the carolling, admiring the lights, and the excellent hot chocolate, stop by Mill Street’s retail shop just by the entrance of the brewpub for shirts, glasses, bottle openers, and, this year’s version of their annual Barley Wine, a high-alcohol winter sipper with warming notes of caramel.
Folly Brewpub has gone a bit beyond the regular fare you’d see in brewery retail shops. Along with their fine selection of shirts, hats, touques, and glasses, they also have hand-crafted wooden serving boards, jams, jellies, sundried tomatoes, and (for the canine beer fan), dog treats made from the brewery’s spent grain! While there, grab a few of their regular beers and see if they have a couple bottles of Flemish Cap Reserve on hand to see just how different a beer can taste if you age it a little while.
These aren’t the only breweries with shops, mind. You’d do well by going to such fine local places as Bellwoods, Great Lakes, Steamwhistle, Black Oak, Indie Alehouse, Blood Brothers, and so many more. Each one is unique and has something a little different but they all sell some amazing beer.
From the beer desk here at Torontoist, hope you all have a very happy holidays. Cheers!