Making a Super Awesome Beer Advent Calendar™

Beer Advent Calendar: Ales By Mail

As a kid, I looked forward to the chocolate advent calendar. You know the one – Mom bought it for 99¢ and the chocolate tasted like cardboard dipped in waxy chocolate syrup. It was glorious.

Now that I’m a bigger kid and can’t stomach the chocolate cardboard, I needed something else to entertain me through the holidays other than playing spot the Northern Reflection Xmas sweaters. Well low and behold, some local breweries and an importer make pre-boxed calendars for your holiday drinking pleasure. Thank you, Santa!

Something to keep in mind, especially with the imported beers, is the length of time it’s taken to get to your fridge. Working backward, on sale in Oct/Nov, packaged in a warehouse Sept, sits at LDB for Aug, shipped from Europe June (mmm hot cargo ship), brewed in March? Low ABV beers that travel from Europe and then proceed to sit in a warehouse for months taste like regret to me.

What we’ve done the past few years is make our own Super Awesome Beer Advent Calendar™. This way we choose the beers for each other and get to stuff the boxes full of the styles we love – a nice side-effect is that it reduces our cellar by 48 bottles so I can start shopping again.

Here’s your easy step-by-step guide to making your own Super Awesome Beer Advent Calendar™:

  1. Find a friend/spouse/neighbour – anything breathing, really – to trade with
  2. Pick how many days you want to countdown – no one’s the boss of you, you can have a 9-day advent calendar if you want
  3. Set an overall value for the box
  4. Get a box – wine/bomber boxes work well or just a big ‘ol box
  5. SHOP! Wheee! I know you’ll have fun with this one, picking great beers for your friend. Don’t say I suggested this, but a gag bottle of Colt 45 is always a big hit. ya huh.
  6. Disguise the bottles – wrap them in tissue/newspaper or if in a bomber box, just cover up the top of the bottle with more cardboard.
  7. Number the bottles or cardboard covers 1 to 25 (or 15 – 24 for your rebellious 9-day box) – and maybe make 24 a special beer (no, not the Colt 45)
  8. Trade (no peeking) and enjoy!

Having a great advent calendar helps to make up for having to listen to Boney M from the moment the pumpkin spiced lattes have overstayed their welcome until the big day. But really, the anticipation of what each day’s beer will be, drinking some great beers and sharing it with someone is really what this is all about. If you use Instagram or the Twitters, use #beeradventcalendar so we can all follow along. Cheers!

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