Christmas 2020 is likely to be more challenging than the usual festivities. So why not indulge in something extra special on the drinks front?
My search for the top 10 beer gifts was long and hard. (Come on, you can imagine how arduous a job it is being a beer writer!).
My priority was to try and make sure that as many palettes were catered for. I’m huge fan of traditional festive beers, which are dark, rich and strong. It would have been super-easy to compile a list of just them, but boring for non-dark beers fans.
Plus, we all know it can be difficult to have a really good option for those driving or avoiding alcohol.
You will find this list offers a choice of tasty low and no-alcohol beers, alongside a 4% ABV session gift pack, all the way through to some heavyweight, more expensive show-stopping tipples.
Best beer gifts to buy for Christmas
Drynks Smashed Lager 0% ABV, 330ml
This lager did an exceptionally good job of fooling me! It tastes like a regular lager but is 0% alcohol: all of it removed during a process usually used in food production, called cool vacuum distillation. Brewed by Drynks in Greater Manchester, this will raise a grin from any designated drivers you hand it to during the festive period.
Nanobot by Beavertown Brewery 2.8% ABV, 330ml
Popular for its kooky can art and eclectic range of beers, this East London brewery was founded by Logan Plant, the son of rock god, Robert Plant (Led Zeppelin). You get hit by the grapefruit aroma as soon as you open the can, followed up a smooth, yet light bitterness from the Simcoe and Sabro hops. At 0.9 units of alcohol per can, it’s just right if you want to slow things down this Christmas.
The Staying Inn gift set, 6 x 330ml bottles
All between 4% and 4.5% ABV, Staffordshire beer box sellers, Best of British Beer, offer a cracking range of gift sets – The Staying Inn gift set being new for 2020. You might get something from Williams Brothers in Scotland, Windsor and Eton, Thornbridge, Freedom or a host of others.
When you order online, you can personalise the name of your ‘inn’, which comes complete with beer mats and a pub quiz. Perfect to have on standby for when you’ve exhausted Christmas films, or as a surprise prezzie for a friend.
Orbit IVO pale ale 4.5% ABV, 330ml
Classic European beers with a modern approach is the ethos of this south east London brewery. The bottle’s logo is a nod to their enduring love of their local music scene. This IVO pale ale from their core range is named after the founder of 4AD records, the label of The Cocteau Twins.
With notes of peach and guava, plus added oats to give a silky mouthfeel, it’s worth keeping a few of this quaffer in the fridge throughout the season.
Fuller’s London Pride gift set
This multi-award-winning beer from one of Britain’s oldest brewery has been a favourite of many for more than 20 years. Based in Chiswick in West London, its London Pride beer is staunchly British: brewed with home-grown barley and hops.
This set is the perfect gift for ardent fans and newcomers alike, who will enjoy the dried fruit and piney aromas, plus the clean and balanced bittersweet flavours of this smooth, dark beer.
‘Eko Black’ porter by Eko Brewery 5% ABV, 330ml
A very quaffable porter from this two-year old black-owned, husband and wife team, Helena and Anthony from London. The pair were initially inspired by the American craft beer scene, and their brews lean on traditional African brewing techniques and recipes. This porter’s light smokiness makes it a perfect match with smoked or chargrilled dishes.
Chimay Grand Reserve 9% ABV, 750ml
Chimay is one of the more famous Trappist Belgium breweries. The popular red, gold and blue label beers are crafted by monks within the walls of the 170 year-old monastery, Scourmont Abbey, which is approximately 75 miles south of Brussels.
Profits go to its foundation which serves to benefit the local community. This Grand Reserve blue, in its bombastic wine bottle size, will be a winner for sharing with Belgian beer-lovers.
The balance of damson-sweet and bitter dark chocolatey-ness also make it a perfect match with a selection of mature cheeses.
Campervan Brewery Lost in Leith ‘Double Mutiny’ Imperial coconut milk stout 9.3% ABV, 375ml
This limited edition beer comes from Edinburgh’s Campervan Brewery. It’s a revved up version of their Mutiny of the Bounty stout, which they brewed with coconut chips and vanilla pods back in February.
The beer spent three months in French Oak Foeders at its on-site barrel ageing facility. The mellow oak enriches the coffee, coconut and vanilla qualities of the beer to give it a rich, full-bodied milk chocolate flavour that is irresistible.
Bosteel’s Deus 11.5% ABV, 750ml bottle
Made by Bosteels Brewery, which is over 200 years old, this exquisite beverage offers up exactly what you would expect from a well-matured Belgian beer.
Brewed in Belgium, it is then shipped off to France for the dégorgement process. The end result? Delightful notes of pear and pineapple on the nose, with a spicy, biscuity, sweet flavour. It is a perfect aperitif or accompaniment to your Christmas dinner.
Durham Brewery Temptation Imperial Russian stout 10% ABV, 500ml
This is a majestic 10% ABV Russian stout from Durham Brewery, a small family-owned business County Durham.
‘Seductive’ sums up it up. It might look like a Guinness, but alongside a light smokiness, there is a heady surprise: liqueur-like sweet raisin and liquorice flavours ooze out and linger on your tongue. In some respects, it’s akin to a fine ruby port.
This review was last updated in November 2020. If you have any questions or suggestions for future reviews, or spot anything that has changed in price or availability, please get in touch at goodfoodwebsite@guide to drinking responsibly.. For information on alcohol guidelines, read our
What beer will you be gifting this Christmas? Share your recommendations with us in the comments below…