As laidback as beer drinkers may be, they can be surprisingly hard to shop for. Measly bottle openers just won’t cut it, glassware is a little tame, and your standard six-pack just seems a bit too… basic.
Luckily, we live in a city that, over the past few years, has earned a reputation of being a craft-beer mecca, so brew-centric gifts—from artfully curated packages to limited-edition collabs to boozy advent calendars—abound. Below, we suggest a few of our favourites.
A portmanteau of the words brew and bouquet, Brewquet offers exactly what its name suggests minus the actual sweet-scented florals. Working with a number of local craft breweries, including Big Rock, Off the Rail, and Steamworks, the Vancouver-founded company assembles thoughtful suds-related gift baskets (from $35 online) that are delivered directly to the recipient’s door.
But it’s not just lagers, pale ales, and IPAs that Brewquet is packing: expect artisan nut mixes, organic beef jerky, and cardamom-crème-brûlée chocolates nestled amongst shiny bottles of beer in a stainless-steel bucket or biodegradable burlap sack. You can even spring for tasty add-ons like bacon salt and sprinkle-coated marshmallows.
Pick from the Main Street (a modest package of three beers), the Kitsilano (six beers, plus beef jerky and maple-Sriracha nuts), and, for those who have been really good this year, the Gastown, which comes filled with six assorted bombers and enough sweets and jerky to last you into the New Year.
Delivery is free within Vancouver, Burnaby, Richmond, North Vancouver, and West Vancouver, and is available until December 22.
Great White Wonder Adventure Pack
For local craft beer lovers, it’s turned into the must-have gift of the year—and not just because it gives one a perfectly reasonable excuse for drinking almost every day in December. The fourth edition of the holiday seasonal collaboration between Parallel 49 and Central City Brewers is—as with past installments—set up as an advent calendar ($59.99 at B.C. Liquor Stores [various locations]), each beer with its own day stamped on top of the box.
Forget boring old Pilsners and straight-forward IPAs; from December 1 to 24 you’ll be pulling such offerings as Red Racer’s Smore Stout (flavour profiles includes chocolate, marshmallow, and graham crackers) and Parallel 49’s Mr. Needles Pale Ale brewed with honest-to-god fir tree trimmings. Lest one worried about giving into temptation and then ripping through days 7 to 13 in one sitting, many of the offerings are on the strong side with, for example, the Robo Ruby Imperial Red IPA clocking in at a dizzying 9.3 percent ABV.
In other words, assuming you’re not sticking to the one-a-day schedule, you might want set up the Christmas tree before you pop a Great White Wonder top or two.
Yeast Van Brewery District collab beer
Given that Vancouver now boasts more craft breweries than functioning gas stations, it was only a matter of time before the brains behind one of the city’s most densely populated suds zones got together to concoct a brew that would rule them all.
The result? The Yeast Van Brewery District’s first-ever collab beer ($16.50 for a four pack of tallboys at Legacy Liquor Store [1633 Manitoba Street]), a double pale ale brimming with 12 different hops—a duodecuple as they call it—that should satisfy even the pickiest of West Coast palates.
The limited-release brew is made by a whopping 14 breweries (and one distillery) in the East Van area, including Andina, Doan’s, and Storm with partial proceeds benefiting the Greater Vancouver Food Bank.
Steam Whistle retro lunch box
Nothing says “I have next to no class” like showing up for work with your lunch in a plastic shopping bag. And unfortunately (assuming you’re not still in elementary school) you’re basically announcing yourself as a riot nrrrd by leaving the house toting your artisinal-salami sandwich in an admittedly awesome Adventure Time Ziplock Crossbody polyvinyl lunch sack.
You can avoid entirely justified ridicule on both fronts by picking up one of Steam Whistle’s wonderfully retro tin lunchpails ($16.95 online), which the brewery proudly bills as mimicking that of a “1950’s construction worker’s” lunch pail. Even if you haven’t had your first six cups of coffee, finding the thing at home on blurry workday mornings won’t be a problem thanks to almost-neon Shamrock green colour. Storage-wise, it’s almost as big as a shoebox, which means it’ll not only hold a double-decker ham and cheese manwhich, but also an eight-inch-high stack of Chips Ahoy! cookies, and small pineapple.
Steam Whistle beer is unfortunately, not included, which isn’t the worst thing in the world as that gives you at least one good reason to hit your nearest liquor store right after the steam whistle blows at quitting time.
Brrr! Winter Radler
If you’ve got a budding beer buff on your list—someone who's recently discovered the beauty of a crisp, well-crafted lager, for example, but is still warming up to the intense complexity of a Fat Tug—consider throwing one (or a few) cans of Strathcona Beer Company’s Winter Radler ($11.49 for a six-pack of cans at Strathcona Beer [895 East Hastings Street]) their way.
A slightly dryer and sharper iteration of its summertime counterpart, the refreshingly easy-to-drink brew makes a solid argument that Radlers—a fruity part-beer, part-juice combo with Bavarian roots—have a place alongside rich porters, stouts, and brown ales on winter booze menus. This one comes loaded with fresh B.C. cranberry and mandarin juices that leave a clean taste on the palate and will undoubtedly trigger the thirst for more.
Granville Island Brewing Winter Mingler
Available in both bottle and can forms, the 12-pack features four different suds from one of Vancouver’s oldest brew-houses: the easy-drinking Island Lager, the all-Canadian Maple Shack Cream Ale, the ridiculously hop-happy Infamous IPA, and a perennial cold-weather fave amongst Vancouverites, the Lions Winter Ale.
A well-rounded lineup of some of the brewery’s most well-received concoctions over the years, the pack also makes a great alcoholic addition to potlucks, holiday dinners, and the like. Not to mention, it should be near the top of your list when it comes to that name you drew in the office Secret Santa pool. (The sheer size and weight of the thing trumps any bottle of wine, thus scoring you some hefty points in the genersotiy department.)
Looking for more gift ideas? Check out the Georgia Straight's 2017 holiday gift guide here.