1. Dive into an Adult Advent Calendar – With a Twist!
You’ve probably seen adult Advent calendars out there, stuffed with things like scented candles, booze and fancy tea. I run across a ton of them while doing my shopping every year and catch myself thinking, “An adult Advent calendar would be a great gift for someone!” Then I remember the obvious – Advent calendars start on December 1st, way before gift exchanges take place.
Introducing the Beer-a-Day Holiday Experience! These festive Hanukkah or Christmas themed beer-a-day boxes are built like adult Advent calendars, but they actually line up with the Holidays, rather than leading to them. Talk about a perfect beer gift for a friend (or yourself.
Each box comes filled with craft beer and small gifts, one for each of the 12 Days of Christmas or 8 Nights of Hanukkah. On the first day of the Holiday – December 10 for Hanukkah and December 25 for Christmas – you or the lucky recipient will open compartment number one, pop open that first beer, and join other blissful beer nerds online for live beer entertainment presented by professional brewers, Cicerones and other experts. Each day reveals a unique beer style and fresh, interactive online content.
2. Do a Holiday Brew Hop
Fresh beer is the best beer, no doubt about it. And you know who has the freshest beer? Your local breweries. After a long and lonely 2020, many breweries are reopening with COVID protections in place, and they need love from all of us! The Holidays are a great time to explore new brews. Even the smallest nanobreweries will have a couple seasonal offerings on tap, and the bigger guys will have entire lineups.
There are plenty of ways to do a Holiday brew hop, but here are my two favorites:
Style Champion Challenge: Check out some local taprooms and decide on a beer style they all have on tap, then grab a couple friends and head out for a few hours of merriness. At each stop, everyone tries the chosen beer style and gives a rating out of 10. After the final brewery, add up and average the scores to see which version reigns supreme!
Brew vs. Brew: If jumping from place to place isn’t your cup of tea (pint of ale?), brew hop at a single taproom with a large selection of holiday seasonals. Grab some flights – make sure to include brews you haven’t had before – and start sipping. You may end up finding a new favorite! But remember, the order in which you taste your beers is critical. Be sure to start with beers that are: lighter in color and lower in alcohol, hoppiness and added flavor (spices, etc). There can be exceptions to these guidelines, so it’s a good idea to ask the bartender’s opinion too!
3. Throw a Virtual Beer & Cheese Pairing Party
The Holidays will be different this year (thanks, COVID), but that doesn’t mean they have to be any less festive. If you can’t host an “IRL” holiday party this year, try an online beer & cheese pairing party instead! You could round up your own beer and cheese, but it’s more fun (and way less of a headache) to leave the work to the pros.
City Brew Tours offers online Beer & Cheese Pairings all year long, but from November-December we spice things up with a Holiday Party theme. All you have to do is set your date and tell us where to send your guests Holiday Party pairing boxes!
On party day you’ll all log into Zoom, meet your beer guide, and begin tasting your way through the artisan cheeses, craft beers, Holiday cookies, fig spread, crackers, and chocolates we’ve chosen specifically for the Holidays. Your guide will walk you and your guests through an hour of craft beer exploration, including tips on how to pour the perfect pint and advice on choosing a beer style to pair with holiday cookies! They are literally a party in a box – complete with party favors and options to add customized gifts, like cheese boards or pint glasses.
4. Make a Giant Batch of Beernog
Beer and eggnog create a gorgeous combination that I wish I’d discovered years earlier. The beer’s maltiness deepens the eggnog’s creamy flavor while its carbonation cuts the heaviness of the egg yolk and cream. I suggest choosing a well-balanced, boozy beer style with heft, like a spiced Christmas ale, barleywine or imperial stout.
Depending on the strength of your chosen ale, shoot for a 3:1 or 2:1 ratio of eggnog to beer. You can do it the old fashioned way and make the eggnog yourself , but store-bought is fine too — especially if you jazz it up with some whipped cream and nutmeg.
Beernog also makes a great beer gift, especially if you’re whipping up the eggnog yourself. Package the chilled nog in mason jars, wrap with a ribbon and give as Christmas gifts or Hanukkah gifts.