While every day is a great day to imbibe with friends, I especially love this time of year. As an avid gift giver and craft beer fan, nothing brings me joy like that which I feel while curating these lists year after year. So many awesome products and experiences out there. Here’s a list of 20 of our gift recommendations for the craft beer lover in your life…
NOTE: this may also be my Christmas wish list…
Imbibe: Virginia Beach (and we hope future cities too!) artisan, Kelly, runs Charlottesville, VA-based Craft Brewed Jewelry. It’s hands down one of our favorite small shops which features upcycled beer cans turned jewelry. I love the cuff bracelets, but she also has a wide array of earrings, necklaces, and other awesome product. Check her out!
2. the cool kids
Give the gift that keeps on givin’ all year long. With a myriad of awesome breweries right here in Hampton Roads, there’s no shortage of unique gift/experience combos that will surely please anyone on your list (21+ of course).
YOUNG VETERANS BREWING CO. CANTEEN COMMAND:
As an official member of the canteen command, you’ll receive a 20oz personalized canteen mug, a stainless growler, a shirt, pint glass, and – the holy grail in our eyes – a personalized YVBC 4-pocket olive BDU jacket complete with YVBC and Canteen Command rocker patches (if you were at the Virginia Beach festival, you saw these folks sprinkled throughout the crowd lending their helping hands throughout the day). Additionally, you’re entitled to special discounts and privileges surrounding merch and beer releases. Hit their site for more info on pricing and additional details.
TBH, they don’t have memberships avail currently, but a little birdie told us that they may be opening up a few slots this holiday season, so keep an eye out!
SMARTMOUTH BREWING CO. INNER CIRCLE:
Opening up their 3rd year of membership this coming March, Smartmouth’s Inner Circle offers an array of perks ranging from a variety of beer offerings, unique merch, exclusive event access, and discounts on tasting room purchases at both locations. Get the opportunity to weigh in on upcoming beer styles, get the scoop on events and releases prior to the general public, and receive four limited releases throughout the year, two custom glasses, tickets to annual Street Parties, a membership coin and more! Visit them online for more info and to learn how to get involved.
BACK BAY BREWING CO. HUNT CLUB:
12 months of awesome gifts and perks abound with the Back Bay Hunt Club membership. In addition to sweet swag like a branded keychain, hat, shirt, mug, and stainless growler, members receive their first mug pour FREE plus a quarter pint more than everyone else (20oz vs 16oz) whenever they come into the brewery. Folks will gain access to two exclusive Hunt Club members only catered dinner parties, as well as sneak peeks and first dibs on EVERY new beer release. 12 22oz. bottles of your choice (stipulations do apply, see their site for deets), discounts on merch and growler fills, VIP experiences at three of their signature annual events, and FREE admission to Back Bay Brewing Co.’s Beer School classes and Beer School release events are just a few more of the benefits you’ll enjoy as a member of the Hunt Club. Click here to learn more and apply to join on the spot!
3. CHILL OUT
Baby, it’s cold outside. But it won’t be for long. Whether we’re fishing, camping, or takin’ it easy at the beach, Icon Coolers keep us chill all year long.
If you were out at the Virginia Beach event, you prob ran into the brand’s co-founder, Zane, who was out showcasing their wares. While our entire team has been longtime fans of the brand, we’re pretty much in love with their new 48-can soft side coolers mainly because of their versatility – oh, and yeah, we said 48 cans – so…
Be sure to check out their entire product line; from hard coolers (both large and small) to drinkware, they’ve got you covered. This isn’t a sponsored ad, we just seriously dig what they’re building. Oh, did I mention they now rock custom jockey boxes too? Breweries – get on it – quality, American-made, functional, and purty.
4. TIE ONE ON
Self-explanatory awesomeness. For those times when you want to look profesh, but also let folks know you’re down to party.
5. IN THE KITCHEN
We first learned about Jackie Dodd, aka The Beeroness, about four years ago while searching the internet for our very first BrewU developmental concepts. Jackie’s been featured on The Today Show, Lifetime, CBS News, printed in Imbibe Magazine amongst others, and writes for Parade Magazine, Draft Magazine, and Whisk Magazine.
Her photograpy = amazing. Her recipes = tasty. Her writing style = engaging. Get one, or both of her books, and you won’t regret it one bit.
6. v FASHIONABLE
When it comes to beer-inspired apparel, we’ve got a slew of awesome suggestions, and our first will ALWAYS be to shop local. Whether it be a brewery like Pleasure House Brewing Co. in Virginia Beach slangin’ one of the finest dang hoodies we’ve ever worn, to Coelacanth Brewing Co. in Norfolk’s wicked fantastic trucker caps, the styles are endless, the prices aren’t insane, and you can rest easy knowin’ you are supporting a burgeoning local biz.
If you’re seeking something more artsy and out-of-the-box, we are stoked to let y’all know about our buds over at Brewer Shirts. We love the humor, quality, and styles that they offer in every item they create. Check out their line here!
7. BYE PINT GLASS, BYE.
Proper glassware helps accentuate the flavor and aroma of your favorite beer. Learn a whole heap more about the importance of glassware and how it relates to your tasting experience from the fine folks over at HopCulture.com.
8. BE(ER)-DAZZLE HER
We learned about Kimberly Markley, founder of Hopped Up Jewelry, a PNW gem, about a year ago. Since then, we’ve been stalking her Insta and drooling over the amazing work she creates. Her story is super cool - she moved west from Ohio to Oregon and got a gig at a little pub. The job, pouring tasty craft brews for locals, was only part-time. One day, she created a pair of hop flower earrings on a whim and wore them into work. Wasn’t long before she was selling them right off of her ears and eventually creating designs for her pals to sport.
Now it’s her hobby is her full time job, and from first design to final finish work, she bends, shapes, forges & stamps each unique piece of jewelry into art for us to wear & enjoy. Check her out - it’s different, unique, and you can tell that heart and soul is put into each creative piece of functional art that she creates.
9. SHOWER BEER
Suds e’rywhere, guys. This innovative water-proof stick-on beer holder! The Sudski sticks to any slick surface like glass, mirror, marble, glazed shower tile or laminate and easily removes without leaving residue behind. It’s a good time in this world when needs like this are realized!
PS - Recommended brew? Champion’s Shower Beer, of course!
10. TOUR DE BREWSKIS
Nothing shows people that you care about them like giving them experiences that they’ll enjoy, cherish, and possibly not remember. Plus, whomever you get this gift for will probably need a partner with whom to enjoy such an experience! (wink, wink: one gift for you, one gift for me)
Here’s a roundup of a few brewery tours being offered throughout the state of Virginia. Make a weekend of it and venture outside the area full of breweries you already frequent. Beer tourism is on the rise, and it’s because there are SO.MANY. amazing venues in SO.MANY. beautiful and unique settings.
Click an image below to learn more about each of these operators!
Knowledge is power! For the serious fan that may be interested in taking that next step into the industry as a profession, there’s great news. Both VCU and the University of Richmond are currently offering Craft Beer Education Certificate programs.
Learn from the pros, partake in a brewery internship, and turn your loved one’s passion into a career - well, at least a couple of credits at a time!
12. HOMEBREW 101
If you’re looking to take it slower with your “future brewer,” consider grabbing a homebrew starter kit. Amazon has a decent selection, and of course, we always suggest hitting your local shops before heading into the interwebs.
If you think that the recipient just wants to be all “I brewed my own beer” and isn’t so concerned with the detailed process and overall science to the project, consider the Mr. Beer Craft Mr. Beer Craft Beer Making Kit.
If you’re dealing with a more serious enthusiast, who is, in fact, looking for that more detailed and specific experience, the Brew. Share. Enjoy. Homebrew Starter Kit is recommended.
Of course, there are a ton out there. You can also check out the local homebrew clubs in your area and see what suggestions they have. This is yet another awesome gift that you just may reap the benefits of, should you remain in the good graces of the recipient of this fine gift.
If you’re seeking the perfect gift for the OCD refrigerator organizer, this is it. Well, assuming they drink bottled beer (or soda, I suppose!)…
This invention secures a 6-pack (per package of magnets) to the ceiling of the refrigerator. I didn’t believe the hype. I figured I’d secure the beer to these things and they’d just fall when I touched them. Alas, they did not. In fact, these things are pretty cool. I can now store far more pickles, jams, meats, and cheeses on the shelf that once held a copious number of bottles. Not sure if this is a good or bad thing, but - this is a cool, fun, inexpensive gift nonetheless - and a good last minute option as it’s available on Amazon.
So, our pal Josh with RVA CapWorks is a genius. If you were at Imbibe this past November, or really at any of the most recent festivals offering totally epic unique handcrafted goods, you’ve prob seen he or his wife out and about.
For the Virginia Beach event, Josh created a super dope custom coaster for the festival. I didn’t even get one because they sold out, so I had to reach out post-event with my wishlist for more before our next date!
He’s grown his biz from a hobby to a full-fledged operation. He researches and visits breweries in the markets in which he will be showcasing in advance. This results in a great deal of merriment as folks cruise his booth picking out their favorite local breweries.
The dynamic duo creates magnets, coasters, seriously (SERIOUSLY) creative works of art, and also do custom commissions. Do yourself a favor and check out their schedule online, then, get out to see them immediately. Can’t make it out in time? Here’s a taste of the cool stuff they’re pumpin’ out…
15. so fresh and so clean clean
Check your local brewery for their own custom craft beer soaps and candle creations, but when all else fails, Etsy has a wide array of this greatness, which is where I learned about Swag Brewery. This joint was founded in early 2012 by two Minnesota-born, beer-obsessed college grads who decided they’d rather drink with “the man” than work for him. Their goal was to design and produce "Damn Fine Goods" that help beer, wine, and whiskey lovers squeeze their passions into into every corner of their lives. Well, they’re doin’ a mighty fine job of that. I’m a sucker for some good branding, and I love what they’re doing.
Beyond the soaps and candles, they have everything from Brew Candy to Hot Sauce, Cups to Flasks, and all kinds of stuff in between.
16. FRESH. COLD. CARBONATED.
Sometimes you get a growler filled at your local brewpup and can’t imagine it not going directly into your belly the moment you walk into your door, and you step up and make that happen. Other times, you may want to savor the brew, make it last, perhaps you scooped up a couple growler fills? This invention is pretty rad, guys.
Don’t ruin good beer. Keep it fresh for up to 2 weeks with the uKeg from GrowlerWorks.
Watch and learn:
17. MIX IT UP
You guys may have recently checked out our blog on Craft Beer Cocktails for the Holiday (if you haven’t yet, you should - so much yum). This book is the perfect marriage of craft cocktails and craft beer. Enjoy both vintage classics and contemporary creations…as well as some history!
But, as LeVar Burton always says, “You don’t have to take my word for it.”
“Jacob Grier is a masterful guide through the wickedly creative terrain of beer cocktails, offering not just delightful recipes, but history and cultural commentary, too. Connoisseurs and neophytes alike will find much to savor, and the latter will appreciate Jacob’s tutelage in cocktail basics. Grab a copy and start mixing!”
— Maureen Ogle, author of Ambitious Brew: The Story of American Beer
“Jacob Grier was at the forefront of the beer cocktail renaissance before many of us had ever contemplated the idea of a beer cocktail. His vast knowledge of beer and passionate dedication to this area of mixology is certain to push the craft of cocktails forward in a positive new direction.”
— Jeffrey Morgenthaler, author of The Bar Book
18. TAP THAT
If the beer fan in your life has a kegerator or tap system, or is an aspiring brewer themself, you may want to consider one of these awesome custom tap handles from TapLab. Currently, their site says that these items won’t arrive in time for Christmas, but I really dig their work nonetheless. There are, however, some awesome local folks throughout the Commonwealth pumpin’ these out of their woodshops. Check around Etsy or ask your favorite local brewery for recommendations!
So, we’ve loved Norfolk Growler Co. for years now. They totally embody the scope of what we strive to achieve with this festival, which is to truly demonstrate the relationship between the craft beer industry and the arts. The sense of community. The time, care, precision, and creativity that goes into both is amazing. Check out the video below to learn about their process and how NGC came to be. Then, hop onto their site or get up with them at one of the events where they are showcasing to snag yours!
20. ARTSY FARTSY
One of my favorite parts of this festival is bringing together artisans from our region to showcase their wares. I’m talkin’ handmade, outside-the-box CRAFT.
Folks all over the world have been inspired by the industry in ways that they weren’t before. From linotype to needlepoint, and print to photography, the list of mediums is endless. Check out some of our favorite finds below…and at our events!
SHAMELESS SELF PROMO: The Imbibe Swag Shop is running some holiday specials right now. Hop on over to see some of our custom prints which are available for local delivery and shipping prior to the holiday (as of the time of this post at least).
21. BARREL ART
Upcycling and repurposing has reached a new level, and the folks at Barrel-Art are experts, and you can find their wares throughout the US thanks to the success of their online business and wholesale program.
The family-owned company was originally born out of necessity. When Mike Prieto and his wife lost everything in a fire during an overseas move, they needed furniture immediately, so he took up woodworking to build a few critical pieces. After finding that he thoroughly enjoyed the craft, he decided to build additional pieces of his own. This turned into designing a bar, furnishings, and barware made from barrels.
Mike recently opened a new showroom in Hampton, VA, and while you may prefer to shop online, it’s definitely worth a visit. You really have to see the quality of his work to know just HOW BAD you need this stuff!
I am kind of obsessed at the moment with these fun stocking stuffers. Maybe it’s because I recently dug up a killer vintage denim jacket that’s begging for me to showcase my collection of these babies. They’re fun tho, right? Click below to be taken to each patch’s respective shop, but really, there’s so much out there. Ask your local brewery if they have ‘em too! SO many of them are on this train right now!
PSST - Stay tuned to the Imbibe Swag Shop or subscribe to our newsletter - we’ll be rolling out some new designs of our own soon - patches, pins, stickers, and more!
23. GAME ON
These craft beer playing cards are another fun (and cheap!) stocking stuffer! (Click to visit their links.)
If you’re lookin’ to get more serious - perhaps a board game is more up your alley.
24. SIP AND CYCLE
As an avid fan of getting outdoors and bringin’ the party along for the ride, I absolutely fell in love with this when I saw it! This is a step above the koozie on the handlebars for sure. Check out Fyxation on Etsy to snag one of these handcrafted leather carriers for yourself (or someone you know, I’m kind of forgetting what the purpose of this blog was)!
25. IMBIBE / IMBIBE PASSPORT
Ok, the moment you’ve all been waiting for (?) - the part where I talk about a sweet lil’ deal that we’ve got running at the moment. Introducing, the Imbibe Passport. We’ll only be releasing 100 of these in 2019, and it is a heckuva deal.
Here’s what you get:
(1) VIP Pass to BOTH 2019 Imbibe Craft Beer and Arts Festivals (Fredericksburg in April and Virginia Beach in November)
(1) Limited Edition Stainless Double Walled Imbibe Carabiner Mug
(1) Invitation to our VIP Reception for BOTH festivals
(1) Festival T-Shirt
(1) Limited Edition Enamel Festival Pin
The package is valued at $300. We’ll be selling them for $200 while supplies last. BUT - today thru 12/24, we’ve got them on sale for just $150/EACH! Kind of a perfect gift because it’s 1) valuable, and 2) obviously they’re going to need someone to go with, so you can get two and save $100! WOOT.
If you’re just looking for something in the “stocking stuffer” category, then you may want to consider scoopin’ up some festival tickets for Imbibe: Fredericksburg, which takes place on April 6 in Fredericksburg. We are offering $10 off, using code: HOLIDAZE19 now thru 12/24!