It’s approaching the Christmas season, and you’ve got a homebrewer on your shopping list!
Lucky you! Not gonna lie: homebrewers are great people to shop for at Christmas, or any other occasion for that matter, because of the huge range of gift choices.
No doubt about it, this hobby comes with a lot of gadgets, devices, tools, equipment, gizmos, thingamajigs…whatever you want to call them. Lack of options is never a problem.
Whether you’re shopping in a brick-and-mortar brew store or with your favorite online vendor, the choices may seem overwhelming to the uninitiated. But no matter the budget, I’ve got you covered!
But before you go off and make your Yuletide purchase(s), read on! I want to dig a little deeper into these items, both for your knowledge and mine.
Honestly, I’m thinking of adding some of these gems to my own Christmas List!
Because costs can vary from retailer to retailer, I’ve given you a rounded estimate on some of the prices.
I’ve also provided a little explanation for a few of the more specialized pieces of equipment for those of you who enjoy having an idea of what your gift’s going to be used for.
Finally, be assured that I’ve vetted this list carefully so that nothing with sketchy reviews has made its way in. I don’t mess around when it comes to my recommendations!
They also let Co2 escape the fermenter so that it doesn’t build up too much pressure inside.
Fun note: airlocks are just the right size for a good stocking stuffer!
They come in different types, but here’s a good 6-piece airlock set (grab it on Amazon) which will come in handy for the next brew day.
Any brewer would be happy to find this under the tree (or over the fireplace)!
Hangover Helper: Delicious Cures from Around the World, by Lauren Shockey—about $9
This hangover-helping cookbook is just the right blend of educational, humorous, and practical.
From the Pepperoni Pizza Bagel to the Bacon Kimchi Fried Rice or Avocado Vegemite Toast, Shockey teaches you how to whip up hangover foods from around the globe.
There are drink recipes, too! Whether you’re tackling your day-after-drinking-misery with the hair-of-the-dog or opting for a detox approach, there’s something liquid in this book for you.
Shockey also includes fun cultural tidbits and sound advice. Curious to try the Puerto Rican remedy of rubbing lemons in your armpits? I’m willing to give it a go (if I’m drunk enough)!
You can grab this for less than $10 on Amazon at the moment, which is a steal—I’ve seen it elsewhere on the Web for twice the price.
Beer-themed Mug—about $10-15
Because homebrewers sometimes drink something that’s not beer (theoretically?), a beer-themed coffee mug will always be a welcome gift.
There’s also the fact that beer-themed mugs tend to be pretty dang funny, like this “Probably Beer” mug, made by the Swag Brewery Store.
Spiegelau IPA Glass—about $11
Did you know different beers are meant to be drunk from different glasses for maximum enjoyment? (See my article here for more information)
Spiegelau makes a range of quality glasses specific to different brews.
From the rippled bottom to the gently curved upper portion, this IPA glass, which is actually sold on Amazon too, makes all the difference in the world when it comes to getting the full India Pale Ale experience—aroma, flavor, foam, basically the whole nine yards.
Note: Spiegelau’s glasses are not your run-of-the-mill toss-it-in-the-sink glassware.
This glass is fine and delicate—something to impress your buddies with while partaking of the incredible sensory pleasures it brings your beer palate—so be careful during washing!
Homebrewers need to take a lot of measurements during the beermaking process.
Long story short, frequently, and accurately measuring something called gravity, which refers to how much sugar is dissolved in the wort or beer, helps brewers make the best beer they possibly can.
A hydrometer is the most basic tool for measuring the specific gravity of the wort and fermented beer.
The other thing to know is that these things are extemely fragile and can easily be broken, so having several spares knocking around the brewhouse are always welcome
Important note: A hydrometer will require a few additional devices in order to do its job even better—specifically, a beer thief, thermometer, and a graduated cylinder.
So if those aren’t a part of your homebrewer’s equipment yet, it might be a great idea to instead get him or her a…
Hydrometer and Testing Jar Kit—about $14
This one by MiTBA, which you can pick up on Amazon, includes the whole kit and caboodle, not to mention a cleaning brush and cloth!
It’s packaged well so it’ll look amazing being unwrapped, and it’s highly reviewed in terms of accuracy and sturdiness.
Brew-Themed Tech Accessories—about $15
At the very least, everyone’s got a cellphone in this day and age, so why not gift a homebrewer with some brew-themed tech accessories?
Note: Popsocket grips are those little circular things you stick to the back of your cellphone case so you can prop up the phone.
So, your homebrewer could use this simple device to prop up their phone to read and follow their beer recipe or to glance at their brewing calculations as they work. Perfect!
“I Like Crafts” women’s’ T-shirt—about $18
Again with the hilarious homebrewer merch! Brewers are a riot.
If you’re shopping for a female homebrewer, this t-shirt –available in ten different colors—would make a perfect gift. (Though now that I think of it, it’d be even funnier on a guy.)
If you want to look at some other T-shirt designed by yours truly, check out my own line here.
If you’re shopping for a more experienced homebrewer who has been around the block…ur…keg…a few times, a refractometer would make a great gift!
Refractometers, like hydrometers, are a measuring tool brewers can use to make the best beer possible.
They work completely differently from hydrometers, though. (Hydrometers work by measuring displaced liquid, while refractometers measure sugar).
The advantage of using a refractometer over a hydrometer is that you need a lot less beer to get a reading, which is beneficial in so many ways!
I picked up this one from Amazon and found it incredibly accurate.
Wooden Bottle Caddy—about $20
A quality, reusable beer caddy is always a good gift.
No more soggy cardboard caddies with bottoms dropping out, sending bottles crashing to the ground!
Caddies come in different materials and sizes, but the wooden ones on the market are especially eye-catching.
This six-pack caddy by Refinery and Co. has not only a rustic charm but also its own attached beer opener on the side.
BrüMate Hopsulator Can Cooler (12 oz. cans)—about $23
I know, I know. You’re thinking “(S)he already has a beer insulator!”
Well, this is no koozie, this is the BrüMate Hopsulator!
Over 20,000 reviews on Amazon with a five-star average.
Stainless steel insulation that’ll make your old-school neoprene koozie seem like a warm, wet blanket wrapped sadly around a tepid beer can.
You’re be spoiled for choice here and, if your homebrewer complains that they don’t make their own cans to put in this fantastic contraption, why not show them this for next Christmas: All-American Master Can sealer
How to Brew, by John Palmer—about $20
Ever notice how rarely a book gets a perfect 5 stars on Amazon when it’s got, like, 800+ reviews?
This book is a must on the shelf of any homebrewer. It’s like the Alexandria’s Library of brew books (history nerds, anyone? No?)
In other words, no matter the reader’s experience level, How to Brew will blow their mind.
John Palmer first wrote the book in the mid-nineties when there weren’t really that many guides to brewing around.
Since then, he’s updated and revised the book to cover new trends and to correct formerly held falsehoods in homebrewing.
Even if you think you’ve seen your homebrewer with this book, go check the edition they have and consider replacing it with he latest one. They won’t be disappointed.
Star San Sanitizer–$22 to $38
Trust me on this: if you’re a homebrewer, you’re always going to need more Star San. Sanitation is the single most important variable in beermaking.
Star San is the gold standard sanitizer because it doesn’t have to rinsed off like a household bleach.
It also lasts a long time if treated properly. So even a small 8 oz bottle can last months or even years for the average homebrewer.
If your homebrewer is just starting out, then this small gift will save them hours when it comes to the sanitation of their equipment, which leaves more time to enjoy that beer together.
Beer Journal—about $30
Brewers need to take notes on their ratios, ingredients, measurements, etc. in order to keep tabs on everything and be consistent from batch to batch.
You’ll always see your homebrewer writing notes, so why not gift him or her with this very attractive and comprehensive Homebrewer’s Logbook?
This beauty has tons of reference charts, including one for appropriate glassware.
Seriously, I can’t plug this highly rated, well-made tool enough. In fact, I got myself one too.
Hops Chart (2nd Edition)—about $40
This hops chart is one of those pictures you could get lost in.
The maker, Data Supply Co., takes data and makes mesmerizing graphic prints out of it (their whiskey chart is also off-the…ur…charts cool).
This one displays 90 different beer hops varieties, highlighting the essential oils and acid content that affect flavor, aroma, and bitterness, respectively.
I hope I’m making this sound as awesome as it is.
Beer Making Kit—about $45
Perhaps you are shopping for an avid beer lover who hasn’t quite make the transiton into a homebrewer.
If that the case, why not give them a beer making kit for Christmas. That means that early in the new year, you can both try their first attemp at home brewing.
Some come with their own equipment and are cheaper. Others come only with the ingredients. For total beginners, I can recommend this one
1-year digital membership to American Homebrewers Association—about $50
This is one of those gifts that’s going to put you on the Best Santa Ever list of whoever receives it. For real, this card is gold.
Digital membership in the AHA includes six print issues of Zymurgy (it’s the homebrewer’s magazine); more than 2000 members-only discounts and deals across the USA; access to hundreds of award-winning National Homebrew Competition beer recipes, and a lot more perks.
And if you’re worried your homebrewer is already a member, guess what? This card extends their current membership.
Steel Mash Paddle—about $55
Most all-grain homebrewers are already using a mash paddle of some sort, but chances are they’re working with plastic or something a little bit akward.
A good steel mash paddle will do away with the constant repurchasing that results from lower-quality tools.
Central Brew Shop makes a beautiful 30-inch-long mash paddle designed to make turning your mash or stirring your wort easier and more effective.
Magnetic Stir Plate—about $60
A magnetic stir plate, such as this one from Apera Instruments, is ideal for stirring yeast starters.
If you know that your homebrewer brew beer from scratch, that is from the malt grains themselves, they probably could benefit from one of these cool devices.
Brewing with a yeast starter allows them to brew more accurate batches of beer which will produce a better end product!
This one has a good stirring capacity (3000 ml.) and doesn’t take up too much space on the kitchen counter!
Wall Mounted Bottle Opener—about $60
One of the most meaningful gifts for a homebrewer (or even just a beer lover) is a quality bottle opener.
Having a quirkly wall mounted bottle opener in the brew house or even out on the deck is a cool little addition. It’s a talking point for parties and a practical assessory for beer lovers.
I think this one is really cool, but there are lots more available on Amazon.
Wood World Beer Cap Map OR Metal USA Map–$75
Beer Cap Maps is a company that makes—if you haven’t guessed it from their company name—pretty awesome wooden wall maps with slots for beer caps.
You can get a USA or Europe map, but they’ve also got them for different US states or cities or (and this is really what’s got me salivating) you can go with the World Beer Cap Map.
These well-crafted pieces look amazing—even more so when they’ve got some caps on them. And if wood’s not your thing, they’ve also got a selection in metal!
You will probably also love the Metal USA Map.
Lambic Beer Basket–$80
For the Lambic beer fan in your life, this patriotic-themed Lambic basket will delight.
Lambic beers contain a sediment due to their brewing process, so they’re best stored sideways (and poured in this position) to reduce the amount of sediment that gets in your drink.
A Lambic basket is a gift that will keep on giving!
If you’d like to know more about Belgian beer and where to actually find it in Belgium (where I lived for several years), why not check out my full article here.
Customized Engraved Personalized Bottles/Labels—about $100/24 labelled bottles
This is a cool gift that’ll touch a homebrewer’s heart. If your homebrewer has their own logo, you can send it in and get 24 beautiful engraved bottles (as in permanent!).
If your brewer doesn’t already have a logo, now may be a good time to suggest they up their beer game by creating one or giving someone a go at it.
It doesn’t have to be fancy to give their brew an even more personal edge.
QUICKCARB Carbonating Pump—about $180
This is one of those tools that, once a brewer uses it, they’ll never remember what beer-making was like before it came into their life!
Just turn on the gas, plug it in, and a keg will be carbonated in 30 to 40 minutes.
As someone who carbonates the old-fashioned way, my mind is kind of blown by that idea.
Carbonated Growler Price—about $200
This double-walled, vacuum insulated portable keg keeps your beer cold, fresh, and carbonated for weeks!
This Growlerwerks beauty has adjustable carbonation levels, a sight glass for a quick peek at content levels, an easy-to-read pressure gauge, and uses cost-effective food-grade Co2 cartridges.
Best Gifts ever!
If you really want to go all out and totally spoil your favorite homebrewer, then these are the gifts for you…or rather, them!
Grainfather – all-in-one brewing system – about $2000
This amazing bit of kit will allow a homebrewer to mash their beer, boil it and finally cool it all within one vessel.
This cuts down on space, cleaning and the time it takes to brew beer.
Despite the upfront cost, a Grainfather all-in-one system, which you can actually buy through Amazon, is a great investment for a serious homebrewer.
Kegerator – $800 – $2500
A kegerator is basically a temperature controlled refrigerator (or a freezer, called a Keezer) which homebrewers use to store kegged beer in.
It allows them to control several aspects of the brewing process, as well as serve cold beer at the right temperature.
I can say without any shadow of a doubt that it’s the ambition of every homebrewer to own a kegerator one day.
I personally would love to upgrade to something a little like this.
For more recommendation on great kit that any brewer needs, please check out my recommended gear page here.