The easiest gift to buy a beer lover is, well, beer, but you can be a bit more creative. Here are some beer-themed ideas to get you started.

As our beer scene grows and matures, many breweries opt for stylish labels by local designers and illustrators. Some are so artful that I feel guilty recycling the bottle or can.

Tatamagouche Brewing solved this dilemma by offering 24” x 18” versions of its Weird Beer Series labels. You can hang these thick papered and textured Glicee prints on their own, but their stylish, minimalist designs look impressive framed. This is a perfect gift for anyone decorating a home bar. Find them at the brewery or order online.

Breweries hate filling them (they’re hard to fill without overflowing), but nothing beats an insulated growler on the beach or while camping. Spend the extra money for a double walled, vacuum-sealed growler. The gap between the outer and inner walls keeps cold in and heat out, and a solid seal preserves carbonation. Look for options that minimize the amount of plastic and rubber on the inside; this is where growlers pick up smells. Find an array of options at local breweries or find a world of variety online.

In addition to beer, several of our local breweries offer beer-adjacent edibles. Meander River Farm Brewery was a farm before the beer boom, so you’ll be sure to find a selection of small-batch preserves and relishes. Two popular options are the Hot Pepper, a blend of peppercorns and dried hops perfect for grinding over steaks, and fresh unpasteurized honey, the same honey that goes into Meander River’s Honey Brown Ale.

Big Spruce has long offered its Beeriyaki sauce and beer-laced jellies from the Sprucetique in Nyanza and at The Shelf at Seaport Farmers’ Market. This year Lunn’s Mill Beer Co. is getting in on the fun with a barbecue sauce called The Deepest. Loaded with flavours, the sauce features First Cut IPA, molasses, sweet and spicy chili sauce, and spices aplenty. Find it at the brewery and slather it on chicken wings, burgers, and pulled pork.

Garrison Brewing’s-branded Cycle Dog collar is easily the most unique local brewery gift I found. Made in Oregon, the waterproof collar features up-cycled rubber to be sustainable and less stinky after a day at the water. Its seatbelt-style closure simplifies putting it on and taking it off and the built-in bottle opener means that Rover really is man’s best friend at your next gathering. Available at the brewery or order online.

I’ll defend your right to drink beer out of a can without harassment until my dying breath, but a glass will elevate your experience. While each style has a designated glass, storing them all gets to be a pain. That’s what makes Teku ideal.

The Italian-designed glass looks like a wine glass optimized for beer. The angled sides concentrate the aroma, which accounts for 90% of what you taste in a beer. A flair at the lip helps channel beer into your mouth. The stem allows you to hold it without warming the beer.

Most local breweries retail a branded option and you can order plain glasses online.

This summer The Carleton on Argyle Street started hosting a bi-monthly Craft Draught Showdown that sees two local breweries go head-to-head with 10 four-ounce samples during a five-course tasting menu. House chef Michael Dolente, silver medalist for Nova Scotia at Canada’s Culinary Championship 2018, and the brewers discuss the pairings in an intimate setting.

The next edition is Dec. 5, featuring Garrison Brewing and Schoolhouse Brewery, and tickets for 2020 events will go on sale after press time. Find tickets on The Carleton’s website.

Cans are Nova Scotians’ preferred package, 72% of 2018 domestic beer sales according to Beer Canada, but many of us still enjoy a bottle. The kicker is that you can never find an opener.

The bottle blade (also known as a bar key or speed opener) is the most common opener in professional bartending. It’s flat, as thick as two credit cards, and slightly longer than the back pocket of your jeans. Find plain, personalized, and decorated options from Etsy and pro-bartending suppliers.

Sometimes you really want to taste that 11% stout on a Wednesday night, but not commit to drinking all 750 ml. Enter The Capper. This metal bottle opener fits neatly in the palm of your hand and offers two sides: one to open and one to recap. Find it in gold and silver at The Independent Mercantile Co. on Gottingen Street.

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