I didn't like beer when I first tasted one - probably a slightly warm Molson Canadian that was fuzzy and bitter to my young taste buds. With time and exposure I developed a taste but soon became bored with beers that all tasted like someone wanted me to drink a lot of them. Just as I was about to give up on beer, craft breweries started to appear and beer started to taste very different from that first Canadian.
To celebrate both the season and diversity of beers available, I'm in the process of assembling a beer advent calendar. Advent calendars have their origin in Christian rituals leading up to Christmas. You may remember advent calendars that had a candy or chocolate hidden behind a paper door you opened each day of December before Christmas. I had heard of an adult version using beer and decided to give it a try.
In the craft beer community there are various premade beer advent packages and kits available - the 24 days of December preceding Christmas corresponds well with traditional beer packaging sizes. I already had a dozen different beers in my fridge so only needed 12 more to celebrate my own beer advent this month.
I could have asked someone to randomly wrap and number each beer but decided to make it a little simplier, hence the beer advent jar. I wrote the names of each beer on a slip of paper, put them all in a jar, and will pull out one a day. I also thought rather than just drink it, I would make it more of a ritual, looking up the beer style and ingredients. If there is someone available to share, we can compare our impressions to make it even more fun. Each day would provide an opportunity to reflect on the beer, reflect on the year and start to reconnect with the spirit, or spirits, of the season.
If I was better organized, I would get a friend or a group of friends and do a beer advent calendar as a group. Each person would prepare 24 wrapped and numbered beers. We'd meet at the end of November to exchange the calendars. Next year!
It's not too late to start your own beer advent calendar or jar. Pick up a variety of beers with an emphasis on different breweries and styles - be sure to check out your local breweries. Enjoy some delicious beer and savour everything that is important during the holiday season and in to the new year.