6 gift ideas for the Sonoma beer lover in your life

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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 Sonoma County, making this a filling holiday season for beer lovers.

Liquid gold

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 Sonoma Springs, Lagunitas, HenHouse, 101 North and Dempsey’s serve up fresh beer in growlers and crowlers for quick gifts. ($4 to $20).

One popular beer gift 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.

Subscribe to imbibe

For a longer lasting gift, sign up for a beer membership at Sonoma Springs, the annual growler club gets you 24 fills of any of its beers for the price $350. This represents an $82 dollar saving at its normal fill cost and they throw in a cool pint glass as well. They have a howler club (32oz) version as well.

Beer events

If the timing is right, look for tickets to brewmaster dinners or beer pairing events like Lagunitas Brewing Company’s 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.

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.

Stay glassy

Beer people get giddy when a taproom offers the correct glassware for the beer (beer tip: a standard shaker pint glass is almost never the proper style unless a martini is involved). Impress your beer fans with a glass appropriate for the style: tulip, stange, long and tapered pilsner, snifter or a pint with a bump out for English ales. We have occasionally found perfect pilsner glasses at the Dollar Store. Also try ILeoni, BevMo, and local breweries like HenHouse for proprietary glassware.

Field Works at the corner of B and 4th streets in downtown Petaluma seems to always meet customers’ hoppy needs with pint glasses etched with Petaluma and California artwork, prints and cards featuring hops and other beer recipes, beer cocktail books and other beer accoutrements.

Beer Swag

Sonoma Springs offers a number of swag bundles including new shirts and new glasses.

Beer reading

If your beer person also loves to read, check out these top beverage titles at Readers’ Books or other bookstores: “Tasting Beer” by Randy Mosher; “The Audacity of Hops” by Tom Acitelli, “Cheese & Beer” by Janet Fletcher, “How to Brew” by John J. Palmer, “So You Want to Start a Brewery: The Lagunitas Story” by Tony Mage, and “Gose: Brewing a Classic German Beer for the Modern Era” by Fal Allen ($15 – $20). (Beer tip: Before buying on Amazon, ask if Readers’ can order your book. It usually only takes a few days with no shipping charges, and ensures all money stays local).

Eat beer

We found Regrained Supergrain protein bars to be a great stocking stuffer. Regrained figured out a sustainable way to repurpose the spent grain leftover after brewing, making high protein, low sugar bars like honey cinnamon IPA, blueberry sunflower saison and chocolate coffee stout (regrained.com). Available locally at Sprouts, Raley’s and Oliver’s Markets (under $5).

With additional reporting by Lorna Sheridan.

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