A Beer Snob Christmas List

Ho Ho Ho Fellow Snobs,

It’s no surprise that Christmas is just around the corner. Our fellow friends in retail have been reminding us of that with decorative displays and copious amounts of decorations for sale since Labor Day weekend. At this rate, Valentine’s Day candy should be hitting the shelves any day now. That aside, you may be working on your nice and naughty list as you begin to work on that Christmas budget. These past few years I’ve occasionally had people ask me what they should get for the beer snobs on their list. So this year I thought I’d put all my thoughts in one place for you to use for gift ideas or perhaps as a subtle hint. So, here we go.

Keep it local:

I can’t say it enough, the beer culture in fabulous K-town has changed so much in these past few years. There are three fully functioning breweries/brew pubs, several in planning and multiple beer-focused stores where you can pick up gift certificates, swag and beer! So, if you don’t have the lay of the land, here’s a quick list with corresponding websites so you can find your way and their hours of operation.

Breweries/Brew pubs:
Saw Works Brewing Company
Smoky Mountain Brewery
Woodruff Brewing Company

Beer Stores/Great place to get great beer:
The Casual Pint
The Bearden Beer Market
Vic’s Total Beverage
Westland Market & Beer Gallery
The Market at Washington and High
Farragut Wine and Spirits

What should I get?

Gift Certificates: The easiest thing, maybe not the most personal, is gift certificates. Your recipient can go pick out their favorite brew or something new to try. Keep in mind that most growler fills are in the $7-$13 dollar range usually and most sixers/four packs can be anywhere from $5 (sometimes less) up to $13. A safe bet is at least $20 in this snobs opinion. If you mention this post at The Bearden Beer Market and buy a $50 gift certificate, you’ll get a free $15 tshirt. I won’t tell if you keep it for yourself! Just about everyone above does gift certificates though; Westland Market & Beer GalleryThe Market at Washington and HighVic’s Total BeverageThe Casual Pint….

Glassware: For every beer, there is a glass. If the snob on your list has been drinking out of a standard pint glass or [gasp] mug, then it may be worthwhile to introduce them to glassware that can enhance their drinking experience. Beer snob Don wrote about these a while back so you can start getting some ideas. Hands down, the best place locally to pick up glassware is The Casual Pint. Most of their glasses are $5.99 with mugs at $7.99. Seems just about everyone has some glassware and The Market at Washington & High seems to get some pretty cool ones from various breweries from time to time.

Bigger Glassware: If you don’t know…or the beer snob on your list has simply forwarded you this post…a growler is a glass (usually) container used for carrying 32 or 64oz of fresh beer from one place to the next. Growlers have come on strong in the last year or two in the local market and if you’re beer snob doesn’t have one, this is a must. You can get a standard glass growler for $6-$9 depending on the stop. Most are branded but that won’t stop it from being filled wherever you go – what matters is that you’re getting it filled there. The Bearden Beer Market, The Market at Washington & High, Saw Works Brewing Company, Smoky Mountain Brewery, Vic’s Total Beverage and The Casual Pint are all great places to pick one of these up. The Market at Washington & High has, I believe, the area’s only one liter growler priced at $7.99 with a sweet ceramic swing top lid.

The Casual Pint may have the most diverse selection in Knoxville with the regular 64oz growlers ($6.99), German growlers (metal handle – $35), blue, green and amber growlers with a wooden handle on top (below – $40) and the new Bräuler ($50) – check out our review of this product here.You want an easy gift for any beer lover? Go pick up a growler and a $20 gift card – done and done.

Beer SWAG: Just about everyone has t-shirts, hats and even beanies. If your snob has a favorite local brewery or shop, it might be cool to pick something up. These are also neat ideas for your out of town snobs – while we all like to support our local brewers, we all support craft beer as a whole and enjoy picking up appropriately branded swag when we can. Check out this Saw Works Brewing Company camouflage

hat – if you can see it [insert Troy McClure laughter here].

Beer: Are you surprised I brought this up? Don’t be. Giving beer on Christmas Day could be the best gift in the whole wide world and – fair warning – could elicit tears of jubilation. Now, I am going to give you a hint; beer stocking. Yep, you heard me right. The Mrs did it last year for yours truly and I hope it becomes a tradition. Now, if you’re going to do this, I’d suggest going for one or two bombers or maybe a handful of sweet singles – you do need to be thinking about weight and what the mantel will hold. Then again, if it’ll tolerate ole Kris Kringle, surely it can handle some beer weight. For this, I’d say go high grav and hit McScrooge’s or Vic’s – look for anything by New Belgium Lips of Faith or Terrapin – those are easy choices. If you’re not sure, ask someone there or who is perusing the isle – or hit the email us link on the top right of the page and we’ll tell you what to look for. Also, rumor has it we’ll be seeing beer from Schlalfy, Southern Tier and Goose Island before the big man slides down the chimney, so keep an eye out. Add a SWBC camo hat and BEST CHRISTMAS EVER!

Go Big:

Now, these aren’t all local suggestions, but if you want to step it up a notch, here are some suggestions.

Tennessee Winter Beer Fest Tickets: Feb 9th, 3-9pm in Townsend, $50/each – includes everything, food, pint glass and all your beer. Only 220 tickets total, 6 brewers, good times. Here is the site or pick up locally at The Casual Pint or The Market at Washington and High.

Morebeer.com: If your snob is a home brewer, you really can’t go wrong with a gift certificate to morebeer.com.

Ship it:  You may or may not be aware but we can ship beer into Tennessee. The benefit is that we can get beer that isn’t sold in the state. For instance, Luekens Liquors out of Florida is a great place to get Cigar City Beer. Fair warning though, shipping can sometimes be a few bucks more than you’d expect to account for the packaging materials, so keep that in mind. France 44 is also a good one to check out. My favorite lately though is letspour.com. You never know what they’ll have in stock (they send a daily e-mail) but they do some pretty sweet packages with great breweries like Firestone Walker, Cigar City and Great Divide to name a few. Buy six beers and the shipping is free – there’s usually a coupon or two available too – great site, good deals.

My favorite beer shirt: RJ Rockers out of South Carolina currently carries my #1 favorite beer t-shirt. It simply states across the front “Beer is an Art.” Simple, truthful, awesome. You can order off of RJ Rockers website – here’s the direct link if the age verification thing doesn’t mess you up.

You could also pick up a KnoxBeerSnobs shirt from our friends at Westland Market & Beer Gallery.

Well there ya go. We hope that this post gives you some good ideas for the beer snobs on your Christmas list. If you see something we missed, please feel free to bring it up in the comments below.

Cheers and Merry Christmas!