I love Christmas. I really do. A lot of people despise me for it. I own six Christmas jumpers/cardigans. I don’t tire of the music. I have all the films. I have strict protocol around the subject. I will walk out of a shop if they dare play any song before the 1st December. But from the 1st onwards, my iPod only plays festive tunes, I wear nothing but clothing with reindeers on it, my diet becomes minced pies and the ginger infused coffee specials from coffee shops that feature fewer beans and less drink for a higher price. I also, shamelessly, love Christmas beers; lazy brewers just making the exact same beer they’ve made all year but shoving some cinnamon and cloves into the boil to create something that imbeciles like me hail as a seasonal triumph.
I had a thought the other day. A thought so good that it was obvious immediately that somebody else thought of it long before the internet was a conceivable organism. A quick search on a popular search engine confirmed my suspicions; it hadn’t just been done before, it had been overkilled. Whilst not surprised, it felt imprudent to go ahead with my idea based on thoughts of plagiarism, and with Nas’ rap going around in my head, “No Idea’s Original, there’s nothing new under the sun,” I put the beers away just to savour whenever I pleased.
Then I came to the next line of the song, “It’s never what you do, but how it’s done,” and though F-it, this my first year blogging, I enjoy reading posts from others more than writing my own and, for me, it’s not about unique ideas, but the shared experiences. So why should I stop myself?
So, yes, I am going to do a beer advent calendar. And yes, it is going to feature only “festive” ales. I decided to do this when I’d amassed around 20+ beers with a form of holiday theme. That number is sure to rise so I’ll have to be strict whittling it down to 24. I want it to feature some classic continental Christmas efforts, but also some of the cringe inducing atypical British efforts with 1960’s humour label and terrible title.
It sounds simple and formulaic enough, but with all the birthdays, Christenings, work-outings and general frivolous merriment happening around that month this year, it will be a challenge to find time to put a beer away each day with a review. How the heck do people manage these “beer-a-day” blogs whilst maintaining any form of work and social life? A few breakfast beers may become a necessity. They may have to be snuck into work for a quick dinnertime review. Either way, if I pull this off it will be a huge achievement.
I’ve noticed some savour 24 special beers for their advent calendars, so in contrast my Ridgeway Santa’s Butt is going to seem a little timid. But this isn’t the time for creativity. Maybe next year I’ll drink 24 different Christmas beers in May and surprise everyone. Until then, I’ll keep coming up with these uninventive concepts. I’m as excited about the season as ever and now have even more of a reason to look forward to it. Here's part of the stash hidden in its own box.
Oh, and whilst we're here, if you'd like to see me modelling my beer as I opened it from its box, here it is.