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Gift ideas for the craft-beer consumer

By Rich Ireland

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- These days it's probably a safe bet that everyone has a person on his Christmas shopping list who loves craft beer -- after all, craft beer remains the fastest-growing sector of the beverage market.

No longer do you have to trek out of state to find an interesting selection of seasonal craft beers, so it's now a simple task of putting together a holiday gift basket full of craft beer. Add a few cigars or maybe some artisan cheese. The possibilities here are endless. Here are a few of my favorites in the holiday beer category.

  • Great Lakes Christmas. A bit spicier this year but still one of the best.
  • Sierra Nevada Celebration. A beer that celebrates the season with hops.
  • Samuel Adams Merry Mischief. A limited release spiced dark-wheat ale with a gingerbread kick.
  • As for other gift ideas for that special beer geek on your list, I suggest you take a look at the epitome of fine craft beer glassware from Spiegelau. This German glassware manufacturer's "Beer Classics" set would be welcome by any craft beer enthusiast (

    Is that special person on your list a wannabe brewer? If so, take my word for it and steer away from the "Mr. Beer" type brewing kits.

    They give the potential brewer a false sense of what brewing really is, and, on top of that, they make lousy beer. I recently found an awesome beer-making kit that is the real thing. The folks at Makershed ( have put together a full-grain based IPA kit that makes 1 gallon of what I am sure to be decent IPA. This is a taste of real brewing and real beer!

    For more on the craft of beer, see Rich Ireland's "Beers to You" blog at


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