Do you remember the pure bliss and joy of opening up an advent calendar as kid and enjoying a treat every day? Well you can recreate that for yourself, a beer loving friend or loved one by making them a homemade beer advent calendar. You may have seen some pre-assembled one’s from different breweries or even put together by stores, but making it yourself is another great way to personalize a gift. Before you is a simple guide to putting together an advent calendar full of beer for that special friend or family member in your life who simply loves to try all different kinds of beer. Reading this after December 1st? Don’t worry, you can simply recreate the best ever 12 Days of Christmas by halving it or put a few lower alcohol beers in the begging so it’s easy for the receiver to catch up quickly. Beyond picking up the beer, the whole process can be done in less than an hour, but will deliver 24 days of sudsy cheer leading up to Christmas day.
Step 1 – Get All The Beer & Supplies Together
First and foremost, go out and get 24 (or 12) different beers. In this case, variety is the key component so don’t be afraid to take few chances with your selections, just be sure to keep it interesting and if possible at least partially geared towards the tastes of the individual you are making the calendar for. Is your friend a hop head? Be sure to load it up with lots of big IPA’s, if they like imperial stouts, go for big, dark, heavy beers and have fun with it. While out shopping, try to grab two equal sized beer or wine boxes that fit 12 bottles a piece or a big box that can fit up to 24 beers without the bottom falling out of it. Grab your boxes, your beers, scissors, some tape and some wrapping paper then you are ready to start making the calendar.
Step 2 – Wrap The Beer
Perhaps the most challenging step for the wrapping challenged folks like myself is actually wrapping the beer! Thankfully, this is quite simple, just measure and pre-cut your wrapping paper in appropriate sizes to fully cover each bottle type. Wrap the paper around the bottle and secure it with tape, fold in the bottom and secure with tape, and finally at the very top create a small, flat fold over towards the spot where the paper line and fasten one more time with tape for a neat finish as pictured above. At the end of the day, just make sure it’s covered.
Step 3 – Remove Flaps & Tape Boxes Together
The goal here is to create a super box by removing the top flaps and securing the boxes to each other along the widths. The top flaps are easy to cut off with scissors, but you’ll need to use lots of packaging tape to secure the boxes together, especially along the bottoms. Since the boxes are already strong enough to hold twelve large bottles of beer or wine you don’t need to worry too much about reinforcing them, however it never hurts to add a little extra protection just in case. The more tape the better to be honest and be sure to lift from the bottom to prevent any damage to the box or beer.
Step 4 – Wrap The Box & Put The Beers In Random Order
Once the box is assembled, it’s best to remove the inside dividers and wrap the box with wrapping paper. Start with a very large piece of gift wrap and fold it over the ridges of the box to cover up the edges. Although it’s not pictured, I used my scissors to cut the paper to allow it to fit without scrunching up the paper too much. You may have to play around with it a little bit, but it’s pretty straightforward once you find a system that works for the paper and boxes you have. It also helps to put some paper or stuffing in the bottom of the slots for the smaller bottles to keep them fairly level with the taller ones when you put the beers in. Be sure to evenly distribute the various bottle sizes to in order to keep the weight balance fairly even.
Step 5 – Print Out Labels And Affix Them To The Beers
I recommend printable mailing labels as they are super easy to print out and affix to the paper (they work great for homebrew labels too). All you need is 12 to 24 of them depending on the size of your calendar and you are good to go. Don’t have labels, us whatever you feel like using to label the beer, everything from a sharpie to masking tape works well enough to do the trick!
Other Helpful Tips Ideas & Warnings
- Remember, these are super heavy, so lift from the bottom and lift with your legs (not your back). This calendar will likely weigh anywhere from 30 to 50 lbs depending on the size of the bottles you use and the last thing you want to give for Christmas (or receive) is a wrecked back or broken bones.
- It’s tempting to have a beer while putting this together, but to avoid cutting yourself, breaking a beer bottle or injuring your body I recommend waiting until after you’ve completed the job.
- Regarding bottle size, it’s good to mix it up, or at minimum pay close attention to the alcohol volume. Try to find smaller bottles for the bigger beers if possible, or move the big ones to the weekends. Many of us love big beers, but a 22 oz bottle of 12% abv Barleywine on a work night doesn’t make for the most productive morning or day after.
- You can use tissue paper, brown bags, newspaper, or basically anything to wrap the bottles. At the end of the day, it won’t matter much as the liquid inside the bottle matters the most.
- Don’t fret about getting it perfectly right, honestly the thought and the variety counts more than anything here, so have fun with it.
- Finally, find some to exchange with next year. You can build it all year long by picking up cellar dwellers in the new year and the ‘consume fresher’ beers in the late fall.
Have you ever made a beer advent calendar for someone else? Or yourself? Leave a comment below and tell us about your experience!