This works especially well with distant friends. Here's how it works: You go to a website that offers this service. You buy your friend a beer or pretty much any kind of drink. They are contacted by the site with the news that they now have a credit to go out and have a drink on you. Want to give it a try? Check out YouGotBeer.com or Beer2Buds.com. These sites work quite differently from each other so check them both out.
2. MagazinesThere are some really good beer magazines out there.
All About Beer, US - Every issue is packed with industry news, articles that study beer in depth, and a ratings section that rates hundreds of beers.
Beer & Brewer, Australia and New Zealand - A quarterly that features industry news, beer & food matching, home brewing tips and beer tasting notes.
Draft, US - This magazine focuses beer drinking culture. Glossier and with a little less depth than the others, it is good for idle thumbing.
Beer Advocate, US - This is the ultimate craft beer lover's publication from the owners of BeerAdvocate.com.
3. Beer BooksEvery year there are new books about beer on the shelves. Here are some recent titles of interest:
Red, White, and Brew by Brian Yaeger - This is an entertaining book about one man's beer odyssey as he explores the American craft beer scene, one brewery at a time.
Christmas Beer - This wonderful little book features reviews of author Don Russell's fifty favorite Christmas beers as well as some entertaining histories and anecdotes about Christmas beer.
The Brewmaster's Table - Perfect for the gourmand beer lover, this book explores the pleasures in the relationship between real beer and real food.
4. BrewerianaCollecting beer memorabilia is something that all beer lovers do at one level or another. Whether it be a labeled pint glass or two from favorite breweries or a rare 19th century bottle from a long gone brewer these items represent brand loyalty, devotion to the brew, and the owner's particular love of beer. You can find signage, glasses, bottle openers, key-chains, and all sort of other things from you beer lover's favorite brewery. If the brewery itself doesn't have a website with items for sale - and most do these days - then you can usually find collectibles from many breweries on EBay.
5. ClothingBeer themed clothing will also go over well with most beer lovers. Make sure, though, that if you are buying brand specific beer clothing that it is from a brand your beer lover actually likes! Most breweries sell tee shirts and caps. Some also offer pants, jackets, gloves, and pretty much any other article of clothing that you could think of with their logos emblazoned on them.
6. Beer!I suppose that this is a rather obvious choice but one worth mentioning. Nothing would make me happier that a six-pack of good beer on any holiday or for my birthday and I'm sure most beer lovers agree. Whether you go all out and pick out a beer gift basket or just go down to the liquor store and pick up a pack of your beer lover's favorite, nothing can top the perfect simplicity of this gift.
Check out my review of Spielegau's Beer Classics line of beer glasses.