I received an early Xmas gift this year from Christian over at Craft Beer Importers, a relatively new agent in Alberta whose portfolio includes 3 Fonteinen, 8 Wired, de Molen, Uncommon Brewers, Anderson Valley and a number of other breweries.
One of his innovations was to produce a Craft Beer Advent Calendar, modeled after the traditional children’s advent calendar where each day in the lead up to Christmas you open a window and receive a present of some sort (when I was a kid my advent calendar prizes were always chocolate).
Real advent calendars come from early 1800s Germany, where Lutherans would mark the period of Advent (a short form of the Latin word for “coming”), in other words the days leading up to Christ’s supposed birth – which even the Pope now acknowledges didn’t happen when we think it happened, if it happened at all. (Hello, this is a beer site, dude. Focus! – Editor)
But returning to the subject at hand, which if I remember correctly is beer, Christian surprised me with one of his Craft Beer Advent Calendars, for which I am very appreciative. It is a sizeable, formidable box, with 24 numbered windows. The box indicates there are beer from Austria, Denmark, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Switzerland. There is quite the range of alcohol contents, with 10, by my count, above 7%.
He gave it to me a couple weeks ago, and I have been staring at it since, wondering what to do with it (duh, I am going to drink the beer, of course – I mean whether to write about it or not). I have decided that it might make for a fun bit of reporting here on onbeer.org, and maybe even some interactive beer evaluation with those of you who also have one currently sitting in your basement. (The calendar has been on sale for weeks in Alberta and B.C., so I am not sure how many are left in stores by this point, but if you want one, call your favourite beer store and find out if they have any left.)
So this is what I am going to do. I am going to write about my impressions of each of the beer in the box and encourage those of you who are able to respond with your thoughts. Now, I have neither the time nor the energy to post every single day (this website doesn’t pay the mortgage, so I have a little thing called a job plus a family to hang out with). And, I am likely to miss some days, especially during the work week, as I don’t generally drink beer everyday. Instead each Monday I will do a post summarizing the beer from the past week. That way I can write about the Advent beer at the beginning of the week and allow for business as usual the other days. Starting with this coming Monday where I do the first two, and ending on Xmas Eve with the last ones.
And I assure you that you will get my honest opinions of the beer. I was clear with Christian (as I am with all agents/breweries who provide beer samples) that I make no promises that the beer will be reviewed kindly, or even at all. It is particularly easy in this case to approach the beer objectively because I have no clue what the beer are at this point.
So, there you are, something to help us get through Advent, which actually doesn’t start this year until December 2 – you see it officially begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas (there you go again! – Editor) – but we will start it tomorrow anyway.