1. Think about which person you would like to buy a gift for.
2. Think about whether you REALLY need to buy that person a gift.
3. Think about how much you want to spend.
4. Think about how much you CAN spend.
5. Drink a beer.
6. Think of a different person.
7. Repeat steps 2-6 until depression sets in or you're sufficiently sloshed to think getting a ride to the mall is a good idea.
So, if you're trying to think of good gifts for people that appreciate beer, here are some ideas:
1. A Mix-6 and some glassware. We (MBR) do these for our charity events that we donate to and people love them. The best thing is, you can be as cheap or fancy as you like. You can get 6 local brews and a couple of pint glasses for under $15 if you try hard enough. Moreover, it's a gift you can never have too many of.
- Some places to look for good singles selections might be: Woodman's (large, if not plain, selection of domestic craft; good, if not standard, selection of imports); Barriques on PD (Can't speak to the other Barriques, but this one has two single-door fridges dedicated to singles; usually some good locals, but a good price range as well); Steve's and Riley's both have similar large selections, but tend to be the highest priced.
- For that glassware, look no other place than Germania Collectibles in the same building as Essen Haus and Come Back In; they have a great selection of glassware.
2. Books. Anything by Michael Jackson is a must for any budding beer aficianado; Great Beers of Belgium, Ultimate Beer, and particularly The Beer Companion are great places to start. Some other good books: John Palmer's "How To Brew" is an excellent easy-to-read resource for homebrewing and understanding the brewing process; and two of Charlie Papazian's books, "The Complete Joy of Homebrewing" makes brewing beer seem so easy you'll want to try it (you should!) and you can still hear stories from brewers in Wisconsin about when Charlie came through researching his "Microbrewed Adventures."
3. The Gamerator. Kegerators are for the old folks. What you need is a video-game emulator in a stand up arcade cabinet with built-in tap system. Yes. You do need one.
4. Looking for Gift Certificates? Try the Wine and Hop Shop, down on Monroe Street. Friendly, knowledgeable staff and more products than you can shake a wort chiller at.
If you have other ideas please leave them in the comments. Rumor has it that Santa reads Madison Beer Review.