Do you have a beer lover in your life and are unsure what to give them this year? We’ve got you covered with the best gifts, from apparel to glasses to gadgets, for all the beer-lovers on your list in our Holiday Gift Guide! Each day this week we will cover a different category of beer-related gifts.
Today we are looking at a group of beer-drinking accessories that are so important it is almost impossible to drink beer without it: glassware!
Beer fans can never have enough glasses – even though we tend to accumulate glasses without even trying. From freebies on pint-nights to commemorative taster glasses from festivals, our cabinets quickly begin to overflow with different tumblers, goblets, and tulips. Some nice glassware can still make a great gift, especially if the recipient is just getting into craft beer and hasn’t had the chance to develop their own hoard of stemware.
Purchasing glassware is further complicated by the new retailer trend of selling a set of assorted “craft beer glasses,” many of which are enigmatic, overly fanciful, or just plain strange. Here are a few examples of glassware sets available from nation retail chains:
The Macy’s set would probably your best bet, but we recommend giving a single type of glass instead of one of these sets. You can tailor the type of glass you give depending on what the recipient’s favorite styles are (snifter for the imperial stout lover, goblet for the Belgian ale fan, etc), or you can give a versatile and flexible glass that works for many styles. Our favorite multi-purpose glass is the tulip.
The Beer of Tomorrow Pick: 16oz Tulip
We don’t have a specific brand recommendation (our previous favorite was discontinued), but our go-to beer glass is a 16oz tulip. The size is great for 12oz bottle or splitting a bomber, the shape works great for most ales (and is especially good for IPAs and Belgian styles), and they are easy to find.
Spiegelau makes a set of 2 tulips that retails for around $30, and they are even availibe monogramed from Williams Sonoma. The (slightly smaller) tulip available from Golden Road Brewing’s shop is one of the better local brewery tulips, and the Bruery’s tulip is another excellent option (and only $5!)
There is no shortage of this popular style of glass available, and their versatility makes it a must-have for any craft beer fan’s collection.
New Specialty Glassware
Several craft breweries have worked to develop signature glasses that are packed with features that help show-off their beers. The tradition comes from the Belgian breweries seeming obsession with logo’d and distinctively shaped goblets, and Sam Adams was one of the first American craft breweries to market a feature-packed glass with their “Perfect Pint” glass.
Other breweries have used some of the ideas present in the Perfect Pint in their own glassware, and our favorite feature of many of these new-wave beer glasses is the laser-etching at the bottom of the glass that creates a steady stream of bubbles when the beer is poured. I used to think it was a gimmick but after much experimentation I can say that the glasses that have this feature regularly have exceptional head and aroma when I use them.
Dogfish Head sells – for just eight bucks – a tulip-style glass with their logo laser-etched on the bottom, as well as a couple of other nice features like the beaded lip and 30cl fill-line.
Besides Dogfish Head’s tulip-shaped signature glass and Samuel Adam’s oddly shaped Perfect Pint you can get these neat features in a more classic glass style, and sometimes you just need a proper pint glass!
Sierra Nevada has a wonderful 20oz Imperial pint glass that features an etched hop cone on the bottom and is sized to perfectly fit a frothy pint of Torpedo IPA. The glass is a little on the light and thin side, but at only $3.50 is it a great deal.
In the mood for a little less beer? Another personal favorite from my own collection is the half-pint glass in the traditional nonic shape from Firestone Walker that also features an etched logo on the bottom. This is the perfect size for splitting a bottle of ale, and I can’t seem to keep mine on the shelf for very long.
More Unique Glasses
- The Winestein is a guaranteed conversation starter, and though it is ment for wine I’ve found it to work great with stouts, porters, and Belgian strong ales. (It also makes for a very pretty ice cream float.)
- Stone Brewing’s company store in Pasadena stocks a huge variety of glassware (and other great accessories for gifting occasions)
- Taster glasses and a flight-board are available from several internet retailers and these are great for people who love to entertain.
- This Etsy shop (and several others) sell unique glasses created from the beer bottled themselves!