Give the beer lovers in your life what they want. Begins with “b”

Just wanted to tweak this original post to add our locally owned Craft Bier Cellar in Portland. Thanks to owner Greg Norton for giving me a heads up distinguishing his business from that of Craft Beer Cellar, also in Portland.

Some days I think you think all I care about is beer. I mean,  I have written two books about the grainy beverage, and I blog about it. But the end of the year calls for true confessions: I define myself as a writer first, and as a writer, I like to write about a bunch of different subjects. Like cooking with beer.

Yes, cooking with beer is still a favorite thing to do for me. This is Low Country Boil made with a South Carolina beer.

Yes, cooking with beer is still a favorite thing to do for me. This is Low Country Boil made with a South Carolina beer.

But it’s approaching Christmas and all the other year-end holidays and I thought I could write a fun post that would link you to some websites that offer beer-related gew-gaws (I never, ever said gew-gaws in my life. Not sure who I’m channeling this morning.) I don’t recommend any beer through the mail companies, because I’m not sure that’s legal everywhere. And if you’re going to give beer itself, why not combine a visit to a local brewpub or brewery with buying that beer?

Tha swanky, yet cool tasting room at Allagsh

Tha swanky, yet cool tasting room at Allagsh

The website Dodo’s tagline is “Good gifts do exist,” and this year they suggest 36 Unique Gifts for Beer Lovers, from beer pong tables to beer-making kits and every gadget and tee-shirt in between:

John Holl, editor of All About Beer Magazine, (ABB) got on Facebook last week and offered a rush delivery of the first issue of the magazine with a new subscription, gifts included. And you don’t even have to pay right away. If you follow the prompts, you’ll fill in the gift recipient’s name and address and ABB will  send you a bill later.

All About Beer Magazine is a publication devoted entirely to beer culture. Included in the magazine are in-depth reviews of new brews, features on breweries that are pushing the envelope in the beer industry, and information on local events, tastings, and more.

Strong's Localmotive, a California common style beer...worth the trip

Strong’s Localmotive, a California common style beer…worth the trip

Craft Beer & Brewing has everything a budding home-brewer needs, including a beer-making kit with DVD. There’s also a Cooking with Beer 2015 book for $9.99 for those of us who still cook with beer and don’t put it all down our gullets (I never say “gullet.” What’s happening to me?)

Yankee Brew News is my go-to periodical for all things New England beer. (They cover eastern New York, too). I even wrote the Maine column for YBN in the late 1990’s. It’s free if you happen to find one at a local watering hole, but you can subscribe to the newspaper too if you want to have consistent news about what’s going on in Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Here’s a link to their printable PDF of all six states’ craft beer makers and many of the publicans selling them:

Want to shop local? Huzzah! Here you go:

Bangor: Central Street Farm Market in downtown has beer and wine-making kits and you can even spare your kitchen a mess and make wine there (I head up this week to bottle my Barolo, one of my favorite Italian reds). Zeth Lundy and his amazing staff will take care of you. And they have other homesteading gifts, such as cheese-making kits. My beer kit is a “clone” of one of my favorites, Funky Bow’s G-String Pale Ale. I’ll take the brewing class on January 9, 2016, then come home and put that sucker together.

Portland: Maine Brewing Supply is at 542 Forest Avenue and on their website, they have a click-able gift certificate for any of the kits or merch they sell as well as classes. One of its customers raved on Yelp: “A brewer’s paradise.”

Portland: Native Mainers Greg and Katie Norton own  Bier Cellar at 299 Forest Avenue, across from USM’s Glickman Library. In their words:

We are a family run store owned by a couple of native born Mainers (and a dog from Kentucky) who just happen to be Beer Geeks. On our wedding day we opened a bottle of Westvleteren 12, instead of Champagne, proof that I have the world’s coolest wife.

The Bier Cellar Bier of the Month club makes a great gift, whether that gift is for yourself is up to you. The goal of the Beer of the Month Club is to give members access to some hard to find beers, as well as some seasonal beers that we think are classics.  With each package we will also include tasting notes and information about each beer.

Portland: In the Old Port at 111 Commercial Street is the Craft Beer Cellar, also home of the Maine Brew Bus. They describe themselves thusly:

We are a craft beer bottle shop, whose primary focus has always been the best beer that we can get our hands on. We spend our lives in search of beers made in breweries just down the street or on the other side of the world, that are well-crafted and good examples of either their style or what we think excellent beer should be, keeping in mind that “style” is not everything. We are not snobs, we are beer geeks!

Shop in person or online for gift certificates, beer food, glassware and more!

Beer bus tours:

Maine Brew Bus:

In their words, Our all-inclusive tours on bright green school buses provide a behind-the-scenes look at Maine’s craft breweries, distilleries, wineries, and more. We offer daily scheduled and private tours in Greater Portland and Southern Maine.

I was a special guest on a tour when Foundation Brewing Company first poured beer back in February, 2014. The guides are funny and informative and you meet a lot of really nice people

John Bonney's partner at Foundation Brewing Company is Joel Mahaffey

John Bonney’s partner at Foundation Brewing Company is Joel Mahaffey

Maine Beer Tours:

Mark and Nichole Stevens and their crew will be your designated drivers for several different tours.I haven’t had a chance to jump on a tour with Mark Stevens yet, but it’s on my agenda for January.

Check them out at:

And let’s just say you’re kind of broke. It happens. How about putting together a simple Word document (or whatever you write with) of all your favorite breweries and beer bars, print it, roll it up and tie with a bow. Not everyone knows about all the craft breweries that exist, and even if they do, they’ll want to know what you love about your favorites and why. It might even turn into your very own beer blog!


Kate Cone

About Kate Cone

Kate Cone has a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, is a freelance writer and the author of "What's Brewing in New England: A Guide to Brewpubs and Microbreweries," published by Downeast Publications in 1997 and completely updated in 2016. She has been a foodie since age 8, when her dad taught her how to make coffee and an omelet, lifelong skills for happy eating.