December 1st is possibly the most disappointing day of the year. You know that Christmas is on the horizon when December crops up on the calendar but there’s still a mountain of shit to ply through before you can even think about the joys/trauma of Christmas Day and the festive period. As a child the advent calendar used to trigger irrational excitement in me – irrational because after seeing your first one you had a fair idea of what kind of thing lay behind each window in the ensuing years and none of them were ever particularly enthralling, unless you have a fondness for badly-drawn pictures of robin red-breasts, candles and the like). Much to my frustration I was never allowed a chocolate one as they were frowned upon for not being traditional, although one year I did manage to nag my mother into getting one with presents in. These were so small as to be unrecognisable and would now come with a choking hazard warning for anyone under the age of 41 splashed all over it.
In fact, now I really think about it December 1st is officially the worst day of the year because I’ve just reminded myself how,as a child, at the beginning of the month Christmas felt like it was as far away as the next appearance of Halley’s Comet. Time physically slowed down from this day on until Christmas Eve when it actually started going backwards. Now, just to mess my mind up even more, December passes in about the space of 26 minutes. However, to make this month more bearable, and perhaps raise my Christmas excitement to pre-1985 levels I’ve decided to drink a beer I have never previously tasted before for every day up to the big day itself…when I then plan to drink anything with alcohol in it right up until 7a.m. January 1st.
It’s an alternative advent calendar where with the opening of each lid bottle I don’t quite know what to expect, but like the real advent itself I’ll have a fair idea that it won’t be too much of a surprise. I do know it’s going to be a damn site more enjoyable than staring at a picture of a bauble or holly sprig – it better had be anyway as I’ve invested quite a bit of cash into this.
The majority of the beers are Christmas ales, brewed especially for this time of the year, and some have ridiculously high alcohol contents (one of them – guess which from the picture – is a staggering 10.5%). All of them will be dispatched with love and unbridled joy (and the ones that taste a bit odd will still have me declaring to anyone who cares to listen, probably my 18 month old son, “It’s not something I could drink a lot of, but it’s not bad all the same*.”) I may even post some tasting notes and say something really pretentious like, “I’m getting roasted nuts over an open fire with hints of Christmas pudding” or I might just say “I’d really like a day on the piss on this stuff” or I may not say anything and just drink it. Whatever I do, one thing is clear; I’ve rediscovered my love for Christmas. And that’s got to be worth drinking to.
*This is code for “it’s pretty shit really, but I’ve paid for it now so I’m going to enjoy it despite it tasting like cough mixture.”