With the holidays right around the corner, your friends and family likely want to make you merry with gifts inspired by your love of beer. But before you end up with a bunch of chintzy coasters, another run-of-the-mill pint glass, or a subpar bottle opener, why not come up with a list of beer-themed goods you actually want?
To save you time browsing through endless novelties, I rounded up some genuinely cool beer gear to add to your holiday wish list.
If you thought your beer pong days ended when you graduated college, think again: Pongbot breathes new life into an otherwise played-out game by tossing a clever robot into the mix. Gone are the days of sinking ball after ball into stationary cups at the end of a table. Pongbot adds an extra challenge, creating a moving target of up to five cups. In automatic mode, the gizmo randomly spins around and darts across the table. Or, switch to manual and try to outsmart your friends by using a two-button remote control to drive it yourself (though, frankly, Pongbot’s auto mode will do a better job throwing off your opponents than you will). The gadget features (sorta) smart sensors that stop it from rolling off the edge of the table…most of the time. Overall, Pongbot is a lot more difficult to master than traditional beer pong is -- but it’s a hell of a lot more exciting.
Buy: $49.99, buypongbot.com
After seeing so many beer vessels in various online stores, I was reluctant to include any on this list. How different can one Thermos-like container be from all the others? However, the BottleKeeper proved me wrong. It’s a steel container that securely holds a beer bottle in place and keeps it cold for hours. The designers seem to have thought of every minor detail: neoprene insulates the inside of the bottle, keeping your beer cold for hours and padding it against drops (so you don’t have to worry about broken glass when you’re camping or boating). And since I got my hands on the BottleKeeper, I’ve been raving about its cap: it features a built-in bottle opener, a seal to close up an open bottle with just about any height neck (and keep the beer carbonated for a bit) and a tether that keeps it attached to the bottle. The bottle comes in five colors (including a handsome evergreen, my personal favorite) and three sizes, so make sure you specify which one you want on your wishlist.
Buy: $34.99, bottlekeeper.com
Alpine ICE Cooler
If you made it onto Santa’s “extra nice” list (or you just have an extra nice relative), you might get lucky and score an Alpine ICE: a $1200 cooler you can take camping, tailgating or just about anywhere else you might enjoy a cold beer. With a heavy-duty case, enough space to hold 72 12-ounce cans, and tough handles with comfortable rubber grips, the Grizzly cooler is impressive on its own. But the really cool part is the “in-cooler entertainment”: a powerful Alpine sound system with two speakers and bass drivers, built right into the cooler. A 16-foot cable connects the cooler directly to your car’s cigarette lighter, and you can stream anything you want from your smartphone or Bluetooth device. But since the cooler weighs 48 pounds before you drop a single can in, you should add a cooler caddy cart to your wish list, too.
Buy: $1199.95, amazon.com
credits:"[Alpine Electronics of America / Facebook](https://www.facebook.com/AlpineUSA/photos/a.202517350706.277028.90497720706/10158072695300707/?type=3&theater)"
Beer Cap Map: USA Puzzle
You’ve probably seen the many ways you can recycle the caps of your favorite brews, from sleek framed containers to individual state maps. But if you’re ready for a real challenge, put this expansive 48-piece beer cap puzzle map of the US on your wishlist. This thing is no joke: It spans 8-feet and fits 979 caps, so it’ll probably be a challenge to fill it up. At the end, you’ll have a record of nearly everything you drank for the last year or two, along with a really cool piece of wall art.
Buy: $199, beercapmaps.com
credits:"[Helvetiq](https://www.helvetiq.com/beeriq-anglais)" width:225 align:left
Hate drinking games, but love a challenge? Try BeerIQ, a party game that tests your beer knowledge with 200 trivia cards. The game covers everything you could possibly know about all types of microbrewed or international beers, from the science of brewing, to beer history, to beer terminology, or beer in pop culture. Even if you can conquer your opponents by answering tough questions like “How do you say beer in Polish?” and “What beer-related event caused several deaths in London in 1814?” in round one, novices get a leg up in round two, when the game tests your memory of the correct answers from previous questions. You’ll mark your points on a score chart, which will graphically depict your beer IQ -- and may also reveal when you had one too many over the course of the game.
Buy: $29, helvetiq.com
credits:"[BeerScents.com](https://www.beerscents.com/)" width:300 align:right
Artisan Beer Candles
Your nose might be craving something refreshing after smelling the sickeningly sweet scents of Yankee candles, which seem to be just about everywhere this time of year. Enter Barley & Hops Craft Candles: a collection of candles infused with the scents of craft brews. These votives capture the flavor notes of craft brews from places like Stockyards Brewing Co. and Estes Park Brewery and infuse them into creamy apricot wax, filling your home with scents like malted wheat, toasted American white oak, aged leather and sandalwood. Perhaps best of all, the candles come in amber beer bottle punts you can actually drink out of when you’re done, making these gifts enjoyable for even longer than the 85-90 hours of promised burn time.
Buy: $28, beerscents.com