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2014 Advent Calendar Wrap-Up

Happy New Beers!

December 2014 came and went and when the dust settled, seventy-two different beers had been revealed!

The Craft Beer Advent Calendar, Phillips Snowcase, and Central City / Parallel 49 Mystery Gift provided twenty-four days of surprise, intrigue, and of course, delicious beers.

Rather than dragging out all seventy-two beers day by day, we’ll take a look at the three calendars overall and explore the good and the bad of undertaking this mighty challenge.

But don’t worry! Just like last year there’s a gallery of each day included at the end!

So if you’re ready, read on!

Three’s Company

A Quick Recap

If you missed our preview here’s a quick look at the three calendars.

Craft Beer Advent Calendar
The largest and probably most prolific of the three, the Craft Beer Advent Calendar is back this year with an International Edition. Beers originate from seventeen countries across six continents.

Phillips Snowcase
Coming from Phillips Brewing in Victoria, BC, the Snowcase provided twenty-four delectable west-coast beers. Though not specifically themed, this pack included some old favourites along with a couple ‘Snowcase exclusive’ brews.

Central City / Parallel 49 Mystery Gift
A collaboration calendar from Central City and Parallel 49 (also from British Columbia). Eleven beers from each brewery make up the majority of pack with two collaboration bottles to bookend the calendar.

The Highs

This year’s calendar selection definitely capitalized on the surprise factor, especially the Craft Beer Advent Calendar. Of the three, it was the only calendar to include all (i.e. 100%) not currently available beers in our market. Each day was guaranteed to hold something new.

Wide variety was also in abundant supply. The Snowcase and Mystery Gift highlighted the deep catalog of beers that Phillips, Central City, and Parallel 49 have to work with. This is always great to see, especially from Canadian breweries.

Barrel. Aged. Puzzler.

The Lows

What about the flip side of the coin?

First, and possibly most obvious, three beers, per day, for twenty-four days is a lot of beer. To my own admission, the full supply lasted well into January.

Okay, let’s talk about the Krampus. One of the most talked about beers of the Craft Beer Advent Calendar. It’s not a low because it’s a sour beer (in fact, a low point might be that it’s the only sour beer), but rather because of how sour it is. Not a bad beer by any stretch, and not a bad sour beer either. Yes, beer advent calendars are for the adventurous but in the same respect should be approachable. The intensity of the sourness here may have turned some new comers off sour beers, and that’s a shame.

Lastly, familiarity (anti-ironically?), similar to last year, is another criticism for this year. The Snowcase and Mystery Gift provided some great beers - beers that I’ve had before. In all fairness, I’m a huge fan of the three involved breweries here, so I’ve had most of their available selection before - it was no surprise to find those beers in their respective calendars.

One Last Note

It’s pretty much assumed that a given advent calendar is the same as another - each following a specific order. But believe it or not, sometimes this isn’t the case.

The Snowcase opened here had days nine and thirteen reversed (and no, I didn’t just open the wrong days) revealing the Black Jackal on day nine and Hop Circle on day thirteen.

More of a quirk than anything else, it made the Snowcase feel just that little bit more hand-made.

Gallery

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

Click on any picture for a closer look - Enjoy!

Remember, don’t drink more. Drink better!

T.