By Jeff Jamieson
CALGARY — I am sure many remember the advent calendars of our youth. Flimsy cardboard boxes, filled with an even flimsier excuse for chocolate. Whether or not you are a devout Catholic or just a big fan of Santa Claus, the advent calendar has become as much a symbol of the modern Holidays as candy canes or Clark Griswold.
The classic movie, which reintroduced us to Clark “Sparky” Griswold, was National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and it used an advent calendar as a device to mark the passage of time. Clark opening the doors of his brick house advent calendar, growing ever closer to his favourite day of the year while his family falls into disarray is forever etched into the subconscious of a generation.
It has been a lot of years since Clark used that bonus to install a pool for Ellen and the kids and since then advent calendars have taken a giant leap forward. And a recent hot trend in the beer market has produced a number of calendars that allow devotees to open those advent doors to reveal bottles of their favorite craft beers. As an added bonus, most of them contain beer that is not normally available in our market, consequently new and different styles can be enjoyed in the days leading up to Christmas.
Austrian brewing giant Stiegl has a calendar out which will allow drinkers to try much of their standard line-up available in Austria as well as some special brews and seasonal beers. It is a great opportunity to explore a specific producer and see what type of consistencies you can see in their line. It is also a great opportunity to try many of the traditional Bavarian styles of the region all in one box.
A perennial favorite among the beer advent calendars is the Craft Advent Calendar, and for good reason. The calendar features beers from all over the globe and the vast majority of them are not available in the Alberta market on a regular basis. They are not all the highest quality beers in the world, but it is always fun to try something new. I am a booze nut and the 2014 calendar featured many beers I had never tried and a few I never knew existed.
Christmas is about coming together and there is one craft beer advent calendar that is all about the family love. The Parallel 49/Red Racer Craft Crossing advent calendar features brews from two of B.C.’s favorite craft producers neatly packed together in one calendar.
And finally we have the Phillips Brewery Snowcase, which is a collection of 24 beers from one of Canada’s most consistently great breweries. If you only know Phillips from their everyday drinking beer, Blue Buck, now is the time to explore everything that they have to offer. For years Phillips has been at the forefront of Canadian craft brewers and their Snowcase gives you an opportunity to try out their entire range.
It is hard to choose with so many wonderful options out there but remember, you can always purchase all of them and as Clark Griswold says, “have the hap-hap-happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tap danced with Danny fucking Kay.” And if you are lucky when Santa squeezes his fat white ass down your chimney that night, he’ll find the jolliest bunch of assholes this side of the nut house.AB, Alberta, beer advent calendar, craft beer