So you’ve got a little less than two weeks to finish up your Christmas shopping, and the last person on your list is the most difficult. Generally, it’s the guy who loves to buy his own gear and doesn’t need anything you can think of. Or maybe it’s the guy who loves good cigars, but you don’t know the first thing about how to shop for them. Whoever your tough last giftee is, I’m willing to bet these gift ideas will find a way into his or her heart.
There were many new items or new packaged products in the Montana craft beer market this year, so I’m going to highlight a few of the coolest things I’ve seen.
Beer: It’s still going to be hard to beat Big Sky Brewing Co.’s bottle-conditioned Ivan the Terrible, Wine barrel aged Kriek, Smoove Cherry, Buckin’ Monk Tripel and Biere de Noel for Christmas gifts. These amazing beers can be aged for as long as you can be patient, or you can consume them first thing on Christmas morning. However, I know people are digging the new Kettlehouse Brewing Co. eight-packs of Eddy Out Pale Ale, Double Haul IPA and Cold Smoke. And you just can’t leave out Bayern Brewing’s new six-packs of Face Plant, which would be a boon to any snowboarder or skier out there who enjoys a nice winter warmer after a long day on the slopes. The 22-ounce bottles from Bitterroot Brewing also make a great gift package that you can mix and match. If you’re looking for something just a little different, check out the selection of beer down at Worden’s Market. From ceramic beer bottles full of Rogue Brewing Co.’s offerings to Karmeliet Tripel, the selection is hard to beat in town. The Good Food Store’s selection of beers is a little smaller than Worden’s, but they often carry different beers. Definitely worth a try for your craft beer lover.
Schwag: The best T-shirts I think I’ve seen in our area can be found at Great Northern Brewing Co. The label designs are clean and really let you know you’re looking at something made in Montana. Second to Great Northern, I really like the T-shirt designs at Glacier Brewing Co., with the popular Slurry Bomber Stout T-shirt being the clear front-runner. For women’s schwag, you’re going to find it difficult to beat the T-shirts at Big Sky Brewing Co., or any of their schwag for that matter. I just know my wife loves her Summer Honey T-shirt I bought her last year, and the taproom at Big Sky is one of our favorite Christmas shopping stops in the weeks leading up to Christmas. Many of the breweries offer shopping possibilities on their Web sites. Oh, almost forgot. Don’t forget about Harvest Moon Brewing Co.’s Pig’s Ass Porter T-shirts and caps. Oh, and if you like the industrial look, Kettlehouse Brewing Co.’s industrial shirts are hard to beat for a gift idea.
Glassware: Missoula’s Liquid Planet offers a great selection of Belgian-style beer glasses as well as German fluted glasses and ceramic mugs with pewter lids. Big Sky Brewing Co. also offers a good selection of glassware, including beer-specific glasses. Bitterroot Brewing and Great Northern Brewing Co. also offer some cool brewery glassware from which to sip your holiday beers.
Misc.: There is much out there in the beer world you can get for your beer lover. A subscription to Celebrator is always great, as is any one of a dozen memberships into various rare beer clubs and beer societies. A few searches in Google should turn up dozens of possibilities if you can’t find something great locally, or if you’re beer lover already has a Pig’s Ass Porter T-shirt.
Good luck with your shopping, and remember to stop and enjoy a pint of something local while you’re out and about.