Got Beer?

Holiday Gift Guide for the Craft Beer Lover

Photo by Kelly Lynn Currier.

Fresh hops roasting on an open fire. The smell of malt is nipping at your nose. Holiday cheers like a song by a choir with friends dressed up with beer foam on their nose.

What beer should you buy for a craft beer lover? The gift of hops of course! Whether it’s a four-pack, growler, single, or gift card, there is no wrong choice. I recommend buying directly from a local brewery, which helps to support them while letting you sample before you buy and ensuring fresh beer. The beertenders in the breweries are there to help you. However, before you journey to your local brewery, enjoy this craft beer guide.


If you are looking for a restaurant style brewery I recommend Apponaug Brewery in Warwick. A gift card here makes for a perfect stocking stuffer. Situated in an old mill, Apponaug has a long bar and table seating. The menu has a vast selection of appetizers, barfood, salads, pizza, and desserts. There are vegetarian and gluten free options for both food and cocktails. I have always been a fan of Apponaug’s stouts. The beer menu generally includes at least one stout this time of year along with their other styles.

There are a few breweries in Rhode Island that offer amazing scenic views. Tilted Barn is definitely a stand out when it comes to a brew with a view. It is located in a beautiful barn on a family farm in Exeter and is a favorite of a friend of mine who was gracious to offer his opinion.

Keith Kirchoff is a classical concert pianist and president of Splice Music. He was the founder and artistic director of the non-profit concert series “Original Gravity,” which partnered local brewers with local composers: brewers would listen to the composer’s music and design a unique one-off beer inspired by the artist’s work. Keith has been homebrewing since 2009 and specializes in spontaneously fermented wild ales and traditional Belgian-styles.

“Rhode Island is host to some of the nation’s best breweries, and Tilted Barn in Exeter is right up there with the best of them,” says Kirchoff. “For the serious beer lover, I recommend their Barrel Aged Boreal Imperial Stout. Supremely balanced, it washes your tongue with notes of coffee, chocolate, vanilla, and oak. Without being remotely cloying or syrupy (despite a 10% abv), it almost finishes dry and immediately leaves you wanting another sip. The aromas are plentiful with coffee and bourbon notes rising to the fore, and as the beer gradually warms some of the more roasted notes become apparent. This is a perfect beer to slowly sip by the fire in front of the tree while listening to your favorite carols on the radio.

“And while you’re there picking up the beer, I also highly recommend some of their art prints by co-owner and label designer Kara Richardson. Charming and pastoral, she sells a wide variety of prints (most of which were designed for their labels) to suit a number of tastes.”

If you are looking to create a curated gift of different style beers, may I suggest you go to Proclamation Ale Company located in Warwick. Stand warned: there will be at least 30 plus beers to choose from. But while you are deciding, you can enjoy a pint or two in the large taproom that has video games and plenty of seating. It is the only brewery I have ever been to that actually smells like a brewery.

My friend Justin Parillo agrees. “I love Proc for the space and vibes,” says Parillo. “There is always a comfortable spot to sit, no matter where you are in the tap room. It never feels out of place to enjoy a beer alone or even make new friends. Everyone who works there is super friendly as well.” Justin started working as a vineyard tasting room bartender, a career that morphed into a years-long gig as a cellar hand at a local vineyard. His love of beer came from enjoying a crisp IPA after a long day of winemaking.

Justin and I share some favorites; KDA DIPA (may not be available) and Used Napkins – an Oak Aged Ale with red & white grapes. My other personal suggestions are Capisce (Italian style Pilsner collab), Ordinary Man IPA, Pieces or Peasies? Imperial Stout with chocolate and peanut butter. That last stout could be the dessert you bring as a housewarming gift.

If you are the type of gift giver who can’t part with a purchase, I recommend Long Live Beerworks in Providence. This brewery experience will have you saying “one for you, two for me.” There may be a curated four-pack available for purchase. If not, buy two different four-packs and make your own curated gift. There are plenty of DIPAs, IPAs, stouts, and lighter styles of Pilsners and lagers.You can’t go wrong here, no matter what you purchase.. The beertenders are extremely knowledgeable and you will be able to sample the selections – or better yet, order a flight.

If you are looking to gift something for someone who likes craft beer but has taken a liking to seltzers, then Vigilant Brewing is where you need to go. They just started canning four-packs of flavored seltzers. I will admit that I was not a fan of the hard bubbly trend until I had Vigilant’s. On tap for the holiday season there will be flavors such as sangria and blue raspberry. Options like Cquito (a Spanish inspired coconut drink similar to eggnog), Apple Pie (Pie with an ABV? Yes please!); and peach seltzer available for purchase. Seltzers are a unique alternative to bringing wine and while you are deciding on a flavor to gift, do yourself a favor and give yourself a pint of Vigilant’s Cadence NEIPA. It’s my new favorite next to Winward DIPA. Both of these hazes are available on draft or in cans to go.

Are you wondering if you made Santa’s naughty or nice list this year? Me too. Either way, we can always buy beer gifts for ourselves in case coal is headed for our stockings hung with care. As always, cheers to local beers!