Beer, Beer Advent Calendar

Getting Into the Holiday Season with a Craft Beer Advent Calendar

November 11, 2015

A few weeks ago I came across an old blog post about what options us Ontario folk have if we’re looking to buy a beer advent calendar. In short: none. It turns out that the LCBO can’t stock beer in packages of more than six bottles because of an agreement with The Beer Store and, for some reason, The Beer Store doesn’t seem interested in creating and selling an advent calendar for its beer-loving public. Disappointing.

So this year I decided to take matters into my own hands and make a beer advent calendar of my very own. (I feel the need to own my Christmas love by acknowledging that this will be one of three advent calendars I’ll enjoy this year, having already bought a chocolate one and a tea one.)

 

Ready to rock!

Ready to rock!

 

Together with my friends Cori and Adam I paid one of the larger LCBOs in the city a visit to pick out the 24 beers that would make up the calendar. It was great having these two along for the adventure – not only did it make the assembly much more enjoyable, but I also felt way less sheepish about buying so much beer in one go since they were doing the same thing.

 

LCBO

Do you think we have enough?

 

LCBO

Adam and Cori, so excited to be beer shopping with me.

 

Since I love craft beer, and since there is so much great craft beer in this neck of the woods, I aimed to have as much Ontario craft beer in the calendar as possible. I also wanted to include as many wintery beers as possible – stouts, dark lagers, winter ales, spiced ales, that sort of thing. I was ready for the possibility of a slim pickings kind of beer-choosing situation, but as it turns out, it wasn’t difficult filling the calendar at all. I easily found 24 beers to include, plus a 25th ‘bonus beer’ to enjoy on Christmas day.

 

AND SO IT BEGINS

AND SO IT BEGINS

 

The Final Tally

The final cost was about what I expected at $72.25. There were more expensive beers that I want to try but in the name of keeping things from getting out of hand I aimed to keep the cost per beer below $5. Together with the $2.20 cost of 100 brown sandwich bags we all used to mask our purchases I’d say this was a fairly affordable way to enjoy the holiday season – and all the delicious beers it entails – especially when I consider that I would be buying beer throughout the month anyway. This is just pre-buying, really.

 

Here’s a list of the beers that made their way into my calendar.

 

The Lighter Ones

Brickwords Cider Nickel Brook Brewery Muskoka Brewery

 

  • Brickworks Ciderhouse Batch:1904 Dry Cider
  • Nickel Brook Cause & Effect Blonde Ale
  • Muskoka Cream Ale

 

The Pumpkin Ales

Black Creek Brewery Grand River Brewing

 

  • Black Creek Brewery Pumpkin Ale
  • Grand River Brewing Highballer Pumpkin Ale

 

The Christmas and Winter Ales

Samuel Smith Wychwood Innis & Gunn Granville Island

 

  • Samuel Smith’s Winter Welcome Ale
  • Wychwood Brewery Bah Humbug Christmas Ale
  • Innis & Gunn Rum Finish (not technically Christmas or winter, I know, but it still feels fancy)
  • Granville Island Lions Winter Ale

 

The IPAs

Side Launch Muskoka Brewery Kensington Brewing Sawdust City Amsterdam

 

  • Side Launch Pale Ale
  • Muskoka Detour
  • Kensington Brewery Fish Eye Pale Ale
  • Sawdust City Lone Pine IPA
  • Amsterdam Boneshaker

 

The Dark and Brown Ales

Dark Ales Brown Ales

 

  • Wychwood Brewery Hobgoblin Extra Strong Ale
  • Erdinger Dunkel
  • Creemore Altbier
  • Side Launch Dark Lager
  • Shillow Beer Co. Bitter Waitress Black IPA
  • Hockley Dark Ale
  • Left Field Eephus Oatmeal Brown Ale
  • Mill Street Tankhouse Ale
  • Great Lakes Brewery Pompous Ass English Pale Ale

 

The Porters

I’m sad to say I missed getting a shot of the last two beers, vanilla porters from Mill Street and Double Trouble. You’ll have to wait until I get them in my calendar to see them!

 

Building the Calendar

There was much debate between Cori, Adam and I over whether to purposely assign each beer to a specific day, or to randomly assign beers ourselves, or to go one step further and to have someone else randomly assign the beers. In the end I went with a hybrid situation. I planned out the beers I wanted to have on Christmas Day as well as December 1st and 21st and then began randomly putting beers into bags, trying not to remember which one went with which day. There were also a few beers that Adam and/or Cori also bought, so we assigned some of those beers to the same day so that we could check in with each other with our opinions as the month progressed.

 

Building advent calendar is serious business.

Building advent calendar is serious business.

 

All in all, only six of 25 beers are from outside Ontario, and only five from outside Canada. The special guest star countries are Scotland (Innis & Gunn), England (Samuel Smith and the two Wychwoods) and Germany (Erdinger).

 

beer advent calendar

Voila!

 

beer advent calendar

I’ll see YOU in December 😉

 

The only downside is that now I have to wait until December to enjoy these beers! My impatient self is not pleased with having to wait.

 

I’ll be posting what I get each day on Instagram and checking in the beers on Untappd – follow me there to join me as I taste my way through December.

 

Beer advent calendars - Meg approved!

Beer advent calendars – Meg approved!

 

How are you getting ready for the holidays?

 

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3 Comments

  • Reply Beer Advent Calendar Check-In - Palate Practice December 16, 2015 at 12:50 pm

    […] I am enjoying this an incredible amount! Both Cori and Adam (friends featured in the building post) agree with me that this was a great idea and should obviously be a new tradition. We all also […]

  • Reply 5 Beers to Keep You Warm on the Longest Night of the Year - Palate Practice December 20, 2015 at 11:09 am

    […] was the first beer in my advent calendar, and was such a welcome way to begin that adventure! It’s a Munich style dark lager that starts […]

  • Reply The Return of the Beer Advent Calendar - Palate Practice December 1, 2016 at 12:48 pm

    […] porters this year – more malt and less hops was the driving factor for this year’s group. As with last year (and my regular beer consumption) I focused mostly on Ontario craft beers, with some special guest […]

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