One of our great joys since starting Hoperatives in 2009 has been helping Carla’s dad on his journey learning to enjoy better beers. He wasn’t a Bud Light/Coors Light/Miller Lite only beer drinker, but he was stuck in a Dundee Honey Brown and Killian’s rut. Then he tasted his first bourbon barrel beer (Listermann Cincinnatus to be exact) and as a Maker’s Mark drinker, he was hooked. So this gift guide is honor of Carla’s dad, but for all dads no matter where they are on their better beer journey.
Technically, we probably should have done this gift guide for Mother’s Day too. But, let’s be honest… we didn’t think of doing it in time. Some links listed below go to our affiliate links on Amazon.com. You’re not obligated to use those links, of course, but look at it this way: it’s like buying two gifts at once!
A colleague of Carla’s at Cincinnati State has gotten two different brewery tours from his daughter as gifts the last few years. The two of them have a great time together and both get to enjoy better beer. It’s a definite win-win. And the tours from Craft Connection are some of the best. (And, yes, they are an advertiser with us, but doesn’t diminish their awesomeness.)
2. Home Brew Classes
Maybe your dad is ready to start making his own beer. There are several great home brew shops in the area that offer classes. There’s probably one near where your dad (if he’s local) lives. If he already home brews, any one of these shops would be happy to sell you a gift certificate.
- Listermann Brewing Supply
- Brew Monkeys (West Side)
- Paradise Brewing Supply (East Side)
- Tri-State Beer & Wine Crafting (NKY)
We met the folks who run this company at the Beer Blogger’s Conference in Boston this past summer. The Rare Beer Club will ship you 2, 4 or 6 bottles of a hard-to-get beer each month. They work through distributors with the proper licensing, so they are are legally able to ship to Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana (which is refreshing, to say the least). If rare beer isn’t quite what you’re looking for, take a look at other craft-beer-each-month selections they offer (the site lists all past offerings so you can see what goes out). It’s even possible to mix and match offers to create your own personal beer of the month club.
It’s amazing to us every time we travel to discover how many people haven’t heard that it’s NOT ok to take liquids on planes. Or that beer is a liquid, apparently. If the beer lover in your live travels AND likes to bring back beer, these bottle bags are the best way to stash bottles of beer in checked luggage. Sure, they can be wrapped in an old shirt or some socks but, well, ewww. These can also be used in shipping beer (or any glass bottle, really). Just make sure you can get them back.
Yeah, there are smartphone apps that allow you to rate beers, but these clever little notebooks are designed to help you think about what you’re drinking rather than just collecting some arbitrary number of stars or mugs or some other ratings icon. We’ve heard tell of folks using these to keep tasting notes while going through BJCP or Cicerone training. Each page in the notebook allows you to record a wealth of information about beers and ciders you try. The design is extremely well-thought out and these notebooks are essential equipment for the serious beer reviewer.
The little notebooks made by Field Notes are almost a cult item. Unlike the ’33’ notebooks listed above, these contain nothing but pages of grid-lined paper between heavy-duty fiber covers. You can record information about beer in them if you like, but they’re really just general purpose notebooks with a fun beer theme. The covers themselves are meant to suggest the colors of various kinds of beers and the Field Notes folks throw in some beer coasters that share some of the same design elements of the notebooks.
We were given samples of these at the 2013 Beer Blogger’s conference and they’re fantastic. They’re a little taller and bit narrower than their glass counterparts, but they seal tightly and hold temperature for quite a while. It’s made of a heavy-weight metal so there’s some sturdiness to it. We’ve used these for all sorts of uses other than beer, but they work as advertised for that.
Pretty much any better beer location will be happy to sell you a gift certificate, but the Moerlein Lager House Beer tokens are unique. It’s the sort of gift that will elicit a confused look at first, but joy upon realizing what they’re for. One token, one beer. How cool is that? The only downside is that they’re so cool, you don’t want to turn them in. In the end you do, of course, because … beer.
9. Ambitious Brew: The Story of American Beer by Maureen Ogle
This is one of the best books on the history of beer in America. We both love it so much that we own both the paperback and Kindle versions of it. Maureen Ogle is a professional historian who researches obsessively but writes accessibly. Her work is partly responsible for spreading the word about Jack McAuliffe’s early contributions to craft brewing. It’s a book that cover a lot of ground in an easy-to-access volume and when you’ve finished it you’ll be even more impressed with what the craft brewers are pulling off with today’s small-brewery revolution.
Brooklyn Brewing’s Garrett Oliver edited this volume that’s equal part reference book and lightning rod. You don’t have to do much Googling to find people who have nits to pick with the book, but when you dig into a given issue yourself you’ll generally find that the OCB is reporting a consensus view of topics that are difficult to summarize. In one volume you’ll find discussions of technical issues pertaining to brewing, extensive descriptions of styles, the histories of important beers and breweries and a lot more.
Happy Father’s Day to all the better beer loving Dads out there!