I have a friend who really likes beer and I was trying to figure out what to get him for Christmas. I turned to my friends on social media, and as always, there were tons of great suggestions. These were so good I decided to do a post pulling them together — it’s always hard to find great Christmas gifts and these are quite unique and different.
On the craft beer front, it seems there are tours you can buy through Brew Donkey. They will take you around on a craft beer tour to the various breweries in the Ottawa area. You can book a tour as a gift or buy a gift card, ranging from $ 25 to $ 350. Tours are arranged and booked 6-8 weeks in advance. (They have a swag page on their website but no swag posted yet. Also, I’m told that one of these tours involves Vodka, pretzels and axe-throwing. Now THAT’s a party!)
Twitter pal @Tracyvirtually recommended buying a gift “box” of beer from the Brew Box Company. You sign up the recipient and they get a box of beer delivered every month. It’s Toronto based but the craft beer they deliver comes from all across Canada. She bought a three month package for her husband. She wrote: “When I signed up I got a printable card to give him so he knew to expect the box on such-and-such a date.” She says he loved them!
Some of my friends suggested putting together a sampler of local beer for example, with several Beau ‘s flavours or from other local Ottawa brewers like Big Rig , Beyond the Pale, Kitchissipi etc. (No one seemed to think that wrapping up beer as a gift was tacky, either, by the way! They all felt that a beer-lover would really enjoy getting a variety of craft beers to sample.)
You can also buy boxed gifts at the LCBO (quite a few people mentioned they sell beer advent calendars but that these were probably all sold out by now.) My neighbour, Nicholas, posted this gift box he had received, on Facebook, and said that “Innis and Gunn is fine and different. A Scottish beer aged in whisky barrels,” so he’d quite enjoyed it.
Another twitter pal, @HeatherBadenoch, suggested Bar Lupulus at Wellington-Holland — she says they have a long beer menu, plus exceptional food and service and thought a gift certificate there would make a great gift for the beer-lover. (She also recommended Brouhaha in Gatineau, “which is reputed to have, hands down, the best beer selection in the region.”)
Fellow realtor Kevin Drew says that he usually picks up up a bunch of “Growlers” from craft brewer, Ashton Brewing Company, and does pop bys with them for clients who like beer. He says: “I like their beer and they can keep the cool bottles …. or Growlers as they are called.
Local artist Sharon Van Starkenburg suggested buying a set of a set of beer glasses. “Each beer is meant to be had in a specific shaped glass.” She also recommended a brewery in Hull that makes amazing craft beer: Les Brasseurs du temps.
For those who want a more lasting gift, like beer glasses, there were plenty of those too. I found this set of marble coasters at Maker House on Wellington. They have maps of different parts of Ottawa on them. This particular set has Hintonburg, which I think is pretty cool but they have dozens of other coasters in all kinds of designs. They are located at 987 Wellington, right where Wellington turns into Somerset.
Nita Beer on Colonnade Road has a swag shop where you can buy various Nita brand gifts including glasses and baseball caps. I thought this gift basket was really good value and you can add individual items to the basket as well.
One of my Facebook friends suggested picking up an Ontario Craft Beer Guide. Apparently there is a second edition out as of last year. Not an expensive gift, but I’ll bet that the recipient will enjoy marking off each beer they try. I found it on Amazon but I’m sure it’s sold elsewhere too.
And finally, FB pal Robert Jago says that you can buy a device that turns craft into draft called Fizzics. “They have these soda stream sized things that you put your can of craft beer in and it turns it into draft. If there’s one thing beer nerds like better than obscure beer in a can – it’s obscure beer on tap.” Very cool!
Thanks everyone for all your great suggestions. I’ve ordered the gift I plan to give to my friend and I know he’s going to love it!