A simple blog about the simple joys of beer

2013 B.A.C. Wrap-Up!

48 Great North American Beers

This season we took on the challenge of working our way through two Beer Advent Calendars! Now that December has come and gone, it’s time to take a look back at what we got!

The Craft Beer Advent Calendar (CBAC) showcased twenty-four beers from North America. Thirteen beers from breweries across the United States, ten brews from Canada, and one from Mexico. The selection covered a range of styles (and strengths) with each brewery making one (and sometimes a second) appearance.

The Phillips Snowcase contained twenty-four beers from Phillips Brewing in Victoria, BC. The selection of styles covers perhaps an even wider range than the CBAC, as the brewery-specific package allowed Phillips to showcase the depth of their beer catalogue.

As you can imagine, forty-eight beers offers a lot of source material to write from. But rather than ramble on for pages, or split this into multiple parts, we’ll take a look at the highlights and lowlights of each package with a wrap-up gallery of all twenty-four days at the end!

Happy New Beers!

Alright, first: The Good!

Craft Beer Advent Calendar
Leveraging the massive number of craft/microbrews in North America, the shining point of the CBAC was being able to discover a new beer or new brewery each and every day. This was an excellent way to experience some of the breweries we don’t usually get here in Calgary (or even Canada).

It was also great to find some hidden gems that we’re more familiar! Yukon Brewery or the Grizzly Paw Moose Knuckle Stout anyone? Being included in a package like this is a great way for our favourites to get some well deserved recognition across the country (/continent/world). We know they can compete at this level, and the CBAC is just more proof of this!

Phillips Snowcase
Starting out strong, the Snowcase delivered on some of the beers that are scarcely seen here. While Instigator Doppelbock and Boxcar ESB are well known (and loved) on Vancouver Island, we rarely (if ever) see them West of the Rockies.

Old favourites were abound in the Snowcase as well. It was great to see the Trainwreck Barley Wine, Hoperation Tripel Cross and the Twisted Oak Stillage Series in 330 mL form!

If you’ve never had Phillips before (or want to peruse their lineup), the Snowcase is an easy and fun way to experience what they have to offer!

On The Naughty List

While both calendars provided a great ex-beer-ience through the month of December, there are a couple of criticisms.

Craft Beer Advent Calendar
Although there’s a wide range of breweries, it’s perhaps a bit too spread out. It would be nice to see a box the covers only Canadian or only American breweries.

The inclusion of only one Mexican beer was a little disappointing. Cucapa is one of my favourite breweries and they definitely belong in a package like this, but it would have been nice to see another Mexican microbrew, or a second Cucapa entry.

Finally, there was little winter flair. Apart from the Yukon 39 ½ Foot Pole and the Lighthouse Winter Ale (both proud Canadian offerings), there was almost no seasonal influence. I wouldn’t recommend a box full of Christmas styled beers, but adding a few more winter seasonals would be a great touch.

Phillips Snowcase
While the style variety was high and despite having a few of the rarer beers (noted in the good), the Phillips Snowcase, sadly, got a little boring.

The real problem here is I’m a big Phillips fan and the majority of beers from the Snowcase I have had before. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the Snowcase and loved seeing my old favourites, but it did leave me wanting a little more.

It’s A Wrap!

Though they didn’t deliver everything on the wish-list, all in all both advent calendars delivered a December full of surprise, fun, and great beer!

Would we do this again? Absolutely!

This was a great finish to 2013 and we’re looking forward to the 2014 editions. In the meantime, I’m sure we can find some great beer to pass the time!

The Beer List

The complete gallery of beers organized from Day 1 through Day 24.

Click on a picture for a larger image - Enjoy!

Remember, don’t drink more. Drink Better!