How’s it going?

For Christmas this year, my family got me a beer advent calendar.

One new beer for each day of December leading up to the big day itself (and a nice glass). This was an extremely sick gift, and I was super excited to start opening it each day. I decided to not drink these as I opened, but saved them up and drank them over a few days during my time off.

Seeley asked if I might want to do an aul write up over here, so I thought “Hey, why not?”.

box with 25 perforated areas, labeled 1-24 with festive designs in random order. center spot is labeled "the beer club glass"
the big box itself

I will note that I am in no way a sommelier or anything. My tastes aren’t that refined, and I do not have the language to describe how beers are in too amazing of detail. I’m just a dude that likes beer. These reviews are extremely subjective to my tastes, and written in how I think of them, though I tried to tone back how I talk. Also, don’t judge my pours. I know many are bad.

All my scores are on a 1 to 5 Bears 🐻 scale.

That said, here we go!

Day 1: Leann Folláin

dark stout with good white head, bottle beside it

Brewery: O’Hara’s
Origin: Carlow, Ireland
Style: Stout (Barrel Aged)
ABV: 9.2%

Thoughts: Good stouty taste on this. Smooth to drink. Bit of sweetness to it, but not to an unpleasant level. Surprisingly, no real burnt notes like I’ve found with a lot of fancier stouts.

Score: 🐻🐻🐻🐻🐻, would go out of my way to get this again

Bottle design: 🐻🐻🐻🐻, really loved it. Feels very irish and old school. Was corked, which made it feel extra fancy.

Day 2: Tastes Like Sumt'n West

amber coloured beer beside  the 330ml navy labeled can

Brewery: Crafty Bear
Origin: Dublin, Ireland
Style: IPA
ABV: 6%

Thoughts: I am personally not a fan of many pale ales, and in general IPAs are the worst for me. With that in mind, this is good for an IPA. Element of citrus, as will become common in this box, and an ok level of hops. Hoppy, but not like you’re just eating hops.

Score:🐻🐻🐻, wouldn’t order it myself, but would drink it again if offered.

Can design: 🐻🐻🐻, it has a bear on it like c’mon how can I not love it.

Day 3: Grevensteiner Helles

light amber beer, short wide brown bottle

Brewery: Veltins
Origin: Meschede, Germany
Style: Helles
ABV: 5.2%

Thoughts: Really lovely helles. Sharp and crisp with some possibly fruity hint, strong enough to note but not so strong that you’ll focus on it. Easy to drink.

Score: 🐻🐻🐻🐻�, would drink again.

Bottle design: 🐻🐻🐻, very old school looking, pretty cool.

Day 4: Renegade Red Ale

dark red beer beside the light red can

Brewery: Dublin City Brewing
Origin: Dublin, Ireland
Style: Irish Red Ale
ABV: 4.20%

Thoughts: Especially as a fan of Irish Red Ales, this is an extremely good one. There isn’t any particularly one thing about it that makes it amazing, but it’s more like they took a usual Irish Red Ale, and improved on every aspect. Possibly the best of the style I’ve had.

Score: 🐻🐻🐻🐻🐻, would go out of my way to drink this again.

Can design: 🐻🐻🐻🐻, clean looking can. Solid red with simple text and labels in black, super good combination and very eye catching. Simple but notable.

Day 5: Sabro Pale Ale

light cloudy amber beer beside the bare can with sticker

Brewery: Modest Beer
Origin: Holywood, Down, Northern Ireland
Style: American Pale Ale
ABV: 4.20%

Thoughts: Not much to say. It’s a fine pale ale, has the usual flavours you’d expect. Hoppy, though again not overpoweringly so, and citrus-y. Crisp. I’d imagine it’s very pleasant on a hot summer day.

Score: 🐻🐻🐻, wouldn’t turn it down, but wouldn’t order it myself.

Can design: 🐻🐻🐻🐻, really into the bare can with a simple sticker on it. Great font, great choice of colours, great placement of text. Just all around a great design.

Day 6: Brehon Blonde

amber beer beside the tall 500ml brown bottle

Brewery: Brehon Brewhouse
Origin: Monaghan, Ireland
Style: Blonde Ale
ABV: 4.3%

Thoughts: OK, but not great. The initial taste is fine, but light aley, but the after and lingering tastes are weirdly biscuity. At least that is the best way I can describe it.

Score: 🐻🐻, I likely wouldn’t drink it again.

Bottle design: 🐻🐻, just boring to be honest. Not actively bad, just nothing interesting about it.

Day 7: Mayfield 5 Lager

light amber beer beside the busy blue can

Brewery: Cotton Ball Brewing
Origin: Cork, Ireland
Style: Pilsner
ABV: 5%

Thoughts: I am a big lager fan, but my main thought drinking this was “unnotable”. It is very basic and normal, it’s fine and I had no qualms drinking it, but just not very exciting. Think basic lager but then a fraction better.

Score: 🐻🐻🐻, wouldn’t buy it but I’d drink it happily if offered.

Can design: 🐻, ugly in my opinion. Not into the logo, and it doesn’t fit with the rest of the can especially at that size. Colours in general are just not great, as are the pictures faintly on it.

Day 8: Bambrick’s Brown Ale

dark brown beer with a light brown head beside the tall can with a movie poster like design

Brewery: Ballykilcavan
Origin: Laois, Ireland
Style: American Brown Ale
ABV: 6.8%

Thoughts: I can’t recall having had a Brown Ale before specifically, though many ales in general. Quite malty was my main impression, and quite a dark flavour. But a bigger issue I had with it was a burnt chocolate sort of taste, especially notable in the aftertaste for me, which I wasn’t very into here. Coated the back of my tongue and mouth.

Score: 🐻🐻, I likely wouldn’t drink this again, but there’s a chance. Might pair wale with some food, which could help.

Can design: 🐻🐻🐻, good can, reminds me of an old monster movie.

Day 9: Tripel Karmeliet

amber beer, 330ml brown bottle with lovely ye olde label

Brewery: Brouwerij Bosteels
Origin: Buggenhout, Belgium
Style: Belgian Tripel
ABV: 8.4%

Thoughts: Cannot sing this beer’s praises enough, absolutely stunning tripel. Great tastes from the grains, really balanced and easy to drink. Delicate taste I might even say. Also a fun fact I learned while googling it when I drank it - It’s brewed with a recipe used in 1679!

Score: 🐻🐻🐻🐻🐻, would go out of my way to get more of this beer. When the world allows it again, will be visiting the brewery at my earliest opportunity.

Bottle design: 🐻🐻🐻🐻🐻, love these old school designs you often see on Belgian beers. Almost brings me back to when it was first being brewed.

Day 10: Back Beat Witbier

light amber, solid head, tall can

Brewery: Western Herd
Origin: Clare, Ireland
Style: Witbier
ABV: 5%

Thoughts: Very light and refreshing witbier. Very wheaty, which is what I want, but not in the realm of too much. Got the citrus notes, as you’d expect. Big fan of wheat bears in general, and this is an excellent one.

Score: 🐻🐻🐻🐻🐻, would go out of my way to get more of this beer.

Can design: 🐻🐻🐻🐻🐻, simple colour scheme and text, eyes drawn easily to the beer name and style, the logo is really nice and well sized, doesn’t steal focus. Honestly would have a print of this design and it would look cool.

Day 11: Massey Red Ale

dark red, weak head, 500ml brown bottle, red label

Brewery: Hillstown Brewery
Origin: Antrim, Northern Ireland
Style: Irish Red Ale
ABV: 5.2%

Thoughts: The lesser of the two Red Ales in the box, but still a very good beer. I’d call it a bit darker in flavour than the Renegade, a bit heavier a drink. A very nice beer for one or two pints in a relaxed pub, but you’d swap to something else past that.

Score: 🐻🐻🐻🐻, would happily drink again.

Bottle design: 🐻🐻🐻, chuckled a bit at it, as it made me think of some kind of old school tractor advert. Otherwise just ok. Farmer-core, which I think works for the taste.

Day 12: Ace of Haze

very light amber and cloudy, 330ml can, ugly

Brewery: Blacks Brewery
Origin: Cork, Ireland
Style: DDH Cyro Hazy Session IPA
ABV: 4.20%

Thoughts: The Style alone is part of why IPAs annoy me. What does all that even mean, what makes that different to any other IPA? Nothing, in my experience. It’s all just words for wannabe beer nerds to feel smug about. Anyway....

For all those words in the style, there is pretty much nothing here. There’s a whisper of hops, but bar that there is just no flavour or notes in this. Just unpleasantly empty. Won an award, proving I don’t have the taste of many other beer nerds.

Score: 🐻, would actively turn this beer down.

Can design: 🐻, just sort of boring and ugly.

Day 13: Big Tiki

light red like fruit punch, tall blue can

Brewery: Hop City
Origin: Ontario, Canada
Style: (Tropical Punch) Blonde Ale
ABV: 4.5%

Thoughts: Absolutely stunning. They say it’s a Blonde, and you can taste that for sure. Has the ale notes there you’d expect, but as you’d guess from just looking at it, it’s super fruity. However, despite being so fruity and sweet, I wouldn’t say it is very similar to a cider. Not close to that level of sweet or sharp or sticky. The balance her between the sweet fruity flavours and the ale flavours is great.

Score: 🐻🐻🐻🐻🐻, would go out of my way to get this beer again.

Can design: 🐻🐻🐻🐻🐻, two colours, which seems to be a thing for me, paired well. Good balance of the logo with the text. Nothing confusing on the can, clear what it is and the design lends itself to the fruity and fun taste.

Day 14: Brewmaster American Pale Ale

dark amber, tall white can

Brewery: Dundalk Bay Brewery
Origin: Dundalk, Louth, Ireland
Style: American Pale Ale
ABV: 4.5%

Thoughts: To quote myself, “It’s grand yeah”. A nice high quality pale ale. Hoppy, sharp, good carbonation, refreshing enough. But at the end of the day, a pale ale. If you’re into pale ales, I highly recommend. If you don’t, it’s not going to change your mind.

Score: 🐻🐻, might not turn it down, but I wouldn’t be particularly excited to drink it again.

Can design: 🐻🐻🐻🐻, I think this is a really cool design. Love the pattern surrounding the can, but keeping the name and logo nice and clear in the center. I enjoy how the text is wrapping around the center

Day 15: Legswap

pinkish-red and cloudy, pink can

Brewery: Hopfully
Origin: Dublin, Ireland
Style: Raspberry and Lime Sour
ABV: 5%

Thoughts: Fantastic beer. Very fruity, you can clearly taste the raspberry and lime and really enjoy them and their sweetness, and they’re extremely well balanced with the sour flavours that come in to follow them. Not unpleasantly sour at all, it’s tuned to a really good level

Score: 🐻🐻🐻🐻🐻, would go out of my way to get this beer again.

Can design: 🐻🐻🐻🐻🐻, fun design, catches your eye. Great shade of pink, and the art is really nice. Would like if the beer name/style text was a big bigger or more noticable. The texture of the label was really nice too.

Day 16: Wrasslers XXXX

black beer with solid head, tall black can

Brewery: Porterhouse
Origin: Dublin, Ireland
Style: “Full on” Stout (Irish Dry Stout)
ABV: 5%

Thoughts: Porterhouse is a well known independent brewery in Dublin, and if you’ve been in the city there’s a decent chance you’ve been to one of their pubs. While not their best stout in my experience, this is still a very solid stout. Quite dark, bit of the burnt taste again, maybe caramel. Not an unpleasant drink, but the lesser of the stouts in this box.

Score: 🐻🐻🐻, wouldn’t turn it down, but don’t think I’d buy it for myself.

Can design: 🐻, I get what they’re going for, but I personally dislike the design. Not really that interesting. Text doesn’t feel balanced with the art.

Day 17: All Hail

anmber, busy and short can

Brewery: Crafty Hopster
Origin: Waterford, Ireland
Style: American Pale Ale
ABV: 4%

Thoughts: A similar review to the Ace of Haze honestly. A whole lot of nothing there with a faint hint of hops. An unpleasant bitterness to this one too. Not for me.

Score: 🐻, would actively turn this one down.

Can design: 🐻🐻, a bit busy for me, but not the worst design.

Day 18: Connemara Lager

light and super clear amber, short white and simple design can

Brewery: Connemara Brewery
Origin: Clifden, Connemara Galway, Ireland
Style: Amber Lager
ABV: 4.5%

Thoughts: Probably my biggest disappointment in the box. I’m a big fan of lager, and a big fan of this can’s design, but the taste itself was not good. None of the nice quality flavours of a good lager I had hoped for. It tasted weirdly peanutty. Maybe that could be good in theory, but here it just tasted very off.

Score: 🐻, would turn this down.

Can design: 🐻🐻🐻🐻🐻, adored the can design. Simple black drawing on a white can, and well done text on the other side. Super simple and super effective.

Day 19: Westport Saison

light and cloudy amber, short brown bottle

Brewery: Mescan Brewery
Origin: Westport, Mayo, Ireland
Style: Farmhouse Saison
ABV: 6.2%

Thoughts: Very crisp and refreshing Saison, with a bit of tartness. I wouldn’t have any particularly huge notes about it, but it’s just a really high class example of a Saison.

Score: 🐻🐻🐻🐻, would drink this again easily.

Can design: 🐻🐻🐻🐻, nice design. To the point, gets the job done and gets it done nicely. Really like the colour scheme. The extra note on the back was a bit of an odd choice.

Day 20: Buck It

reddish amber beer, tall 500ml brown bottle with an anthro donkey

Brewery: Black Donkey
Origin: Roscommon, Ireland
Style: American Amber Ale
ABV: 4.7%

Thoughts: A pretty fine Amber Ale for sure, but honestly nothing noteworthy here. Bitter, but not too too badly, and aley.

Score: 🐻🐻, likely wouldn’t drink this again any time soon.

Can design: 🐻🐻🐻, nice art on this one. Pretty pleasant and does catch your eye a bit. Some might be into the anthro donkey.

Day 21: Coola Boola

super light and cloudy amber, busy 330ml can

Brewery: Wicklow Brewery
Origin: Wicklow, Ireland
Style: Session IPA
ABV: 3.8%

Thoughts: Listen.

This one ain’t good. The citrus notes here are not very nice, unpleasantly bitter, and way too hoppy. I could buy a bag of hops and just eat that.

Score: 🐻, No.

Can design: 🐻🐻🐻, I do find the can design fun and I love the name. I just love the phrase “coola boola” and use it myself very often, so it was fun to say.

Day 22: Bacchus Framboise Raspberry

super dark red with pinkish head, 330ml cream can

Brewery: Kasteel Brouwerij Vanhonsebrouck
Origin: Ingelmunster, Belgium
Style: Flanders Oud Bruin Sour (Raspberry)
ABV: 5%

Thoughts: Belgians swoop in to save the day as usual. Super tasty raspberry beer. In general, I really like fruit beers. You get to enjoy the fruity sweet flavours without going full cider, which are often way too sweet to enjoy in the same way as a beer. Ciders are good, but I can get sick of them fast, and only want them on a hot day. This fruit beer however, while it is sweet and very strongly raspberry, is not so sweet that I found myself getting sick of it or getting a sticky mouth. The flavour was well balanced with some sour/tart notes, and in general was just a very smooth beer.

Score: 🐻🐻🐻🐻🐻, I would go out of my way to get this beer again.

Can design: 🐻🐻🐻🐻, hard to beat an old Belgian man on a label. You know you’re getting quality when you see one (especially if it’s a monk). Nice colours, nice font.

Day 23: Grunt

light amber, tall can with a pirate

Brewery: Hope Beer
Origin: Dublin, Ireland
Style: Wheat Beer
ABV: 4.8%

Thoughts: Great Wheat Beer right here. Delicious wheaty flavour. It has those citrus notes you really want from one. Not quite and light as I might want from a Wheat Beer, as I tend to lean that way with them, but still excellent.

Score: 🐻🐻🐻🐻, I would drink this again, and likely will.

Can design: 🐻🐻🐻🐻, I’ve always been a fan of Hope’s can designs, always find my eyes drawn to them when I see them on the shelf. The art is more often than not very good, and that’s the case here. Love the art, the colours, the text design. Good can.

Day 24: Muintearas

black stout weak head, tall wax sealed brown bottle

Brewery: Brehon Brewhouse
Origin: Monaghan, Ireland
Style: Imperial Stout
ABV: 10%

Thoughts: The last beer of the box is this fancy looking bottle from Brehon Brewhouse, and honestly not an awful way to end it. The Stout flavours are pretty nice. It has that level of sticky sweet that at least I tend to expect from beers of a higher ABV, which isn’t too bad. More of that burnt aftertaste, which I’m not particularly a fan of. Really good Stout, but second to the Leann Folláin the box started with.

Score: 🐻🐻🐻🐻, I would drink this again, though being 10% it wouldn’t be often.

Bottle design: 🐻🐻🐻, an improvement on Brehon’s other example here, but still just a bit boring. The white text under the name feels unnecessary and a bit distracting. I am not a fan of the wax seal. I get that it makes it feel Fancier and Important, but it just makes it a bit more annoying to open, and make a bit of mess.

And there you have it, those are my thoughts on all 24 beers in the Beer Advent Calendar from All in all, I was really happy with the quality of the beers in the box, and mostly happy with the variety. I’d have preferred less Ales, especially Pale Ales/IPAs, but they’re unfortunately (for me) extremely popular, both with drinkers and brewers. I will 100% be getting this box again next year, assuming they do one, as the experience was rad.

Thanks for reading, and thanks to Seeley for reaching out to me to do this write up! Deffo put me out of my comfort zone, but was a fun way to spend my day. If you want, catch me on twitch or over on twitter @_bfoty or @demon_bfoty for stream exclusive content!

Now to go start into the other box of beer I bought.

Slán go Fóill,

william, bfoty