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.)
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.
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.
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
- Brickworks Ciderhouse Batch:1904 Dry Cider
- Nickel Brook Cause & Effect Blonde Ale
- Muskoka Cream Ale
The Pumpkin Ales
- Black Creek Brewery Pumpkin Ale
- Grand River Brewing Highballer Pumpkin Ale
The Christmas and Winter Ales
- 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
- Side Launch Pale Ale
- Muskoka Detour
- Kensington Brewery Fish Eye Pale Ale
- Sawdust City Lone Pine IPA
- Amsterdam Boneshaker
The Dark and 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
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.
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).
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.
How are you getting ready for the holidays?