It’s that time of the year again. It’s cold outside (weird Chicago-December-heat-wave not withstanding), those annoying bell ringers are outside every store, and you have to buy gifts for just about every person you have ever met, ever. Well, we at the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild want to alleviate some of the gift-buying stress by pointing out some great gifts for the craft beer lover in your life. All of the gifts listed below are from our Regular Members or Associate Members and are available for purchase now. Be sure to support your local craft brewers and establishments this holiday season!
Emmett’s Tavern Brewmaster’s Dinner. In January Emmett’s hosts its semi-annual event at all three locations which includes an intimate brewery tour with Brewmaster Rob Hunter, a sampling of their fine handcrafted beers and a five course dinner pairing collaboration with the culinary team. Tickets are $59.95 a person. January 10th – Palatine, January 17th – West Dundee, January 24th – Downers Grove. For more information visit Emmettstavern.com
IMBIBE Membership. Why not give your IL Craft Beer enthusiast the gift of VIP treatment and craft beer knowledge? Membership includes early entry to the Festival of Barrel-Aged Beer, an end of the year party at Haymarket Pub, discounts from Chicago Brew Bus and advanced notice on all of the Midwest’s most talked about craft beer events (oh and don’t forget that free ICBG growler koozie!). $35. For more information visit Illinoisbeer.com/IMBIBE
Revolution Brewing’s Mug Club. If your craft beer lover enjoys visiting Revolution’s brewpub, what better gift than a 20 oz. members-only mug awaiting their arrival? For $25 Mug Club Membership also includes the first half growler on the house; buy 9 growlers to go and get the 10th free; 20% off on all Rev Brew merchandise; invitation to beer tapping events; and a celebratory birthday beer. Check out revbrew.com for all of the membership details. While you’re there, throw in a Revolution church key bottle opener ($10), the design is killer and it’s the perfect stocking stuffer!
Half Acre’s Label Art Posters. Whether you’re a die-hard Daisy Cutter fan or a Big Hugs lover, these unique and skillfully crafted designs (illustrated for Half Acre by Chicago’s own Phineas X. Jones) are available to purchase as posters. Prices start around $13 and can be found at halfacrebeer.com/store
Brewery Tour on Chicago Brew Bus. Do you know a craft beer fan that is a bit of an urban adventurer? Someone who likes to explore the city in which they live? Well, then this is the gift for you! The Chicago Brew Bus picks guests up at Goose Island Clybourn and then visits three or four additional Chicago breweries. Tours are $58 per person (or you can rent a party bus for $325) for four hours, and provide information about each of the breweries, the brewing process, and the beers that are sampled. You can either reserve a specific day or get a gift certificate so your loved one can arrange the tour on their own. For more information, visit chicagobrewbus.com.
Brewing Kit from Brew and Grow. If you’re like us, you have a friend or family member who loves beer and always says, “I should really start making my own!” Well, get yourself over to Brew and Grow and pick up an introduction to homebrewing kit. B&G has both basic ($69.29) and deluxe ($128.99) equipment kits as well as an array of extract and all grain ingredient kits ($30-$40 each). While you’re there, be sure to check out their book selection and pick up some homebrewing/beer tasting staples. Our suggestions are Tasting Beer and Radical Brewing, both my Randy Mosher; Designing Great Beers by Ray Daniels; and The Complete Joy of Homebrewing by Charlie Papazian. For more information and to find a location near you, go to brewandgrow.com.
Tasting & Styles Class at the Siebel Institute. Know someone that is a little more advanced than the typical beer drinker? This two-day course is taught by one of the forefathers of Chicago craft beer, Randy Mosher, and is a hands-on (e.g., a lot of sampling goes on) workshop that gives participants a solid foundation in beer styles and tasting. The next session is held January 31st -February 1st and register soon as these classes fill up fast. This is one of the more expensive gift suggestions at $980, but can you really put a price on knowledge??? For more information and to register, go to siebelinstitute.com.
Gift Certificate to Owen and Engine. Did you know that beer is often a better accompaniment to food than wine? Owen and Engine capitalizes on this notion by having an extensive rotating tap list including several real ales on cask, paired with rustic, British-inspired grub that is sourced from local farms. Gift certificates are available in any denomination and make the perfect gift for the craft beer fan that is also a hardcore foodie! For more information, check out owenandengine.com.
Gift Membership from the Chicago Beer Society. Founded in 1977, the Chicago Beer Society is an association dedicated to the appreciation of beer. Membership in this organization provides the opportunity for the member to attend numerous craft beer events throughout the year. A few notable events include the Chicagoland brewpub and microbrewery shootout; a day trip to the Great Taste of the Midwest; and the Day of the Living Ales festival. Check out chibeer.org for more information.
Haymarket Pub & Brewery. Have someone on your Holiday list looking for brewpub schwag? Look no further! One stop holiday shopping! Pick up a Haymarket gift backet – growler with a certificate for a fill, koozie, logo bucket & 2 stemmed logo glasses $50. Boxed & wrapped for easy gifting!
For the Beer Fan that Lives in Chicago. Plan a trip to visit a brewery in the suburbs – while there are great breweries/brewpubs in Chicago, there are some equally fantastic breweries/brewpubs in the Illinois suburbs. Solemn Oath, Wild Onion, Flossmoor Station (which is right next to a Metra station), and Pig Minds, just to name a few. Check out www.illinoisbeer.com for additional breweries in the suburbs and to start planning your trip! Just be sure to designate a driver.
For the Beer Fan that Lives Outside of Chicago. Plan a trip to visit a brewery in Chicago! As said above, Chicago has some great breweries and brewpubs. For example: Half Acre Beer Company, Revolution Brewing Company, Piece, and Atlas Brewing, to name a few. Most of these breweries are easily accessible by public transportation so check out transitchicago.com to start planning your Chicago brewery tour!