November 30, 2013 by 250 Beers
Please allow me to introduce you to the 250beers.com 2013 Beer Advent Calendar…
I accumulated a Christmas stash of beers last year. It consisted of a pile of 31 different bottles that I’d gathered to see me through 2012’s yuletide festivities. You can read more about Christmas 2012 here. This year I wanted to do something a little bit special with a stack of beer that had been growing steadily throughout my dry(ish) NOvemBEER.
Inspired by some rather poor, half-arsed (but clever) efforts of recycling a carton or crate with 24 hand-written numbers on it such as this…
…I decided that something on a larger scale was needed. I then began to put a concept together. An idea that would see the creation of a monster of an advent calendar…full of beer. For me.
If you feel the urge to do something similar and want to pretend that you’re appearing in a creative arts and crafts scene from Play School or Blue Peter then here are the ingredients and instructions…
You will need:
24 empty shoe boxes with lids. I managed to acquire a total of 36 shoe boxes from visits to two very generous shoe shops. They were happy for me to be taking their rubbish away but it took two, full shopping trolley trips from the shopping centre and back to the car. Be prepared for strange looks and comments from passers-by. One remark was “Woman’s shoe fetish mate?” I responded with a typically witty retort, “So?”
A wooden pallet. I sweet-talked a guy from a large pet shop into giving me one. Please don’t confuse this scenario with something associated with The Pet Shop Boys – the camp 80’s pop duo. I like innuendo. I like slipping one in wherever I can but I draw the line at being part of your imaginative smut where The Pet Shop Boys are concerned.
I actually helped myself to two pallets. Both are Australian standard 1165 x 1165mm.
A pack of large cable ties. I already had lots of these in the 250 Beers utility cupboard.
A pointy hand tool. I opted for a Phillips screwdriver but a bradawl will work just fine if you own one.
Lots of wrapping paper. This is for decoration purposes.
Some tissue paper or cellophane. Again, this will be used for decoration. I opted for red and green cellophane to give the calendar a bit of extra Christmas oomph.
You’ll also need 24 different bottles/cans of good beer for inclusion at the end. This is the main ingredient. The whole project is pointless without 24 different beers.
Here’s what to do:
Using the process of elimination select the best looking pallet. I chose the cleanest one and it happened to have less of those chunky splinters protruding from it. You should then pick 24 random shoe boxes from your new collection.
Lay your pallet on the ground and arrange the boxes neatly on it in a single layer with even spacing. Somehow, I managed to get the fit and layout perfect at the first attempt – even with the assistance of two mini 250 Beers.
Remove all of the box lids but make sure you mark each box and lid with a matching number (1-24) in an inconspicuous place (inside the lids and the bases of the boxes is good). This will help you marry them back up once this fancy DIY project is over. The box lids will act as the doors on your advent calendar.
Then, using the business end of your preferred sharp implement, pierce a pair of holes in the base of each box. Ensure that these holes are as near as possible to – and either side of – the wooden slat directly below. You might wish to consider two sets of holes in the larger boxes.
Simply feed a cable tie through each set of holes from underneath and tighten/fasten. After spending an entire evening in a hot and humid garage dicking around with 24 shoe boxes you’ll be able to stand the pallet upright without the boxes falling off. It should look something like this:
As somebody that is easily satisfied you will step back and take pleasure in admiring what you’ve just achieved. If you’re lucky to have a supporting and understanding Beer Wife like I have you’ll probably find her standing in the garage doorway shaking her head looking at you in disbelief but happy that you’re happy.
Get yourself around the back of the upright pallet and trim off all of the excess cable ties with a pair of scissors. I didn’t mention the need for scissors above. Apologies.
This next step is optional. I chose to suspend my soon-to-be calendar from the ceiling of the garage at 250 Beers HQ because I have two strong anchors in place that usually hold my kayak aloft via a set of home-made slings. Having the calendar off the floor also prevents children’s fingers from getting at it. Leave yours free-standing or leaning against a wall if you want to. You’ll assess the importance of this decision based on the age of the children in your household. I think suspending it off the ground gives it a more angelic look for Christmas.
Once all of the hard graft is complete it is time to decorate those box lids. Go crazy here and wrap or cover those lids in whatever material you like. I chose to wrap them all in the same paper for consistency. I got to box lid number seven before it started to wear me down. Not wishing to be out-done by the now smirking Mrs 250 Beers I carried on.
Once that task is complete, crunch your sheets of tissue paper or cellophane and place one scrunched sheet inside each box. These are really just for aesthetics so if you don’t want your boxes to look nice then forget this stage. Oh, and don’t forget to transpose that scruffy, hand-scrawled number from the inside of your lid onto the front in an ornate manner…I chose labels. You will end up with 24 numbered ‘doors’ for your Beer Advent Calendar.
Now you are ready to insert a bottle or can of beer into each and every box (Burleigh Brewing’s 28 Pale Ale shown as an example). I decided to get Mrs 250 Beers to do this bit principally so that I wasn’t aware which beer was going into which box – I wanted an element of surprise throughout the existence of my calendar. After all, I knew what the 24 beers were going to be because I bought them! If your partner refuses to help then do it yourself but try not to look at the bottle labels or caps if you crave that feeling of surprised elation.
The penultimate step is to return the lids (your advent calendar doors) to the relevant boxes. You’re almost ready for DecemBEER!
To finish off your masterpiece you can be as fanciful as you see fit. I have opted to tie the whole thing in a red ribbon to make my Beer Advent Calendar look like a huge Christmas present. Again, personalisation is totally up to you. You may decide to hang fairy lights and tinsel? You might event want to include a full-on nativity scene around your new Beer Advent Calendar and create a BEERthlehem!
Now you are ready for the first day of advent!
Children race to open a little door on their advent calendars as soon as they wake up for the first 24 days of December to nibble upon a little chocolate, stare at a shitty Christmassy picture or play with a little plastic toy. Beer lovers of the world – I urge you to do the same with your Beer Advent Calendar on a daily basis. Stare in awe at your new beer first thing in the morning, place it in your beer fridge and enjoy it when you get home from work. This is precisely what I’ll be doing! I’ll be abusing social media with advent updates using the hashtag #giantbeeradventcalendar – join me if you wish.
24 days, 24 new beers with quite possibly the largest Beer Advent Calendar in Brisbane and Australia. Maybe even the world?