The Christmas season is fast approaching and the time has come to begin preparations for the 2017 Beer Advent calendar. Be it for yourself or someone you love, this winter tradition has become something to help lift the craft beer drinkers spirits as winter takes hold. I like to prepare early and not blow the budget, so I get everything together well before December 1st, spreading out my purchases to be ready for the big day.
The premise, if you are new to it, is that you buy 25 craft beers from either your local LCBO or at different craft breweries you happen to visit and then wrap them up and randomize them for a tasty treat every day leading up to Christmas. Last year I bought some and raided my cellar for a few more, had Mrs. Polk wrap and number them in an order I didn't know and put them in the fridge. Every day was a new to me beer or perhaps an old favourite and I loved every minute. Not knowing what style I was getting was part of the fun but if you know you don't like certain ones, you can avoid them altogether. The important thing is to make it enjoyable for yourself or someone you love.
If you're putting a calendar together for someone it would be a great idea to know their favourite styles and even their favourite breweries. This can help guide your purchases and even inspire a road trip or two to get a few gems only available at the brewery. Ask their beer drinking pals what they really like and surprise them with a Christmas miracle of 25 craft beers to help make the season bright. I would encourage you to seek out a few local breweries and add those to the list because I can assure you that they will appreciate getting something new and if it's a limited release, even better.
Try and have a unique way of giving your gift. Maybe a custom decorated box, have the beer just show up in the fridge every evening when they get home, wrapped and numbered, chilled and ready to go. Get a big bomber 750 ml bottle of something special for their days off or to share when you can do it together. Add in a new glass or other branded merchandise and you can be assured that your gift will be over the top and make all of your beer loving partners Christmas wishes come true.
The whole point of doing the calendar is to have fun and to give yourself or someone you love a little "me" time when we need it most. The holidays are not easy for everyone and if a pint after a long day can bring a smile to someone's face, I say we are doing something right. The clock is ticking, so get stocked up, wrap or box those beers and bring a smile to the world with the gift of Craft beer!