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11 best beer advent calendars for a very hoppy Christmas countdown

With craft beers, British lagers and nibbles inside, these beer advent calendars are top-tier

Tamara Hinson
Wednesday 20 September 2023 17:08 BST
<p>It’s never too frosty outside to enjoy a cold one</p>

It’s never too frosty outside to enjoy a cold one

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Alcohol-themed advent calendars are officially a thing, and although beer ones have been around for a while, the good news is manufacturers continue to innovate, producing calendars that celebrate the mighty hop in a wide range of ways.

And don’t assume you’ll miss out on all the fun if you’ve got certain dietary issues, such as a gluten intolerance, either – this year, we’ve come across several advent calendars that include gluten-free beers.

Prone to hunger pangs after sinking a few beers? Opt for the growing number of calendars that feature snacks, too, including munchies such as pork crackling and roasted fava beans.

Finally, rather than offloading a lorry-load of presents onto your nearest and dearest on Christmas Day, why not get in there early and gift them a beer advent calendar on 1 December? Think of it as the gift that keeps on giving (well, up until the 25 December, at least).

As the festive season will be here before you know it, we’ve saved you valuable Christmas shopping time by tasting and testing the best of the beer advent calendars for you. Cheers!

How we tested

We considered a range of factors, including design, range of brands and value for money. We also considered aspects that are often overlooked, such as whether the sturdiness of the design kept the contents in place. After all, what could be worse than opening the first door of your beer advent calendar, only to find the can in question has slipped out of sight?

Finally, there’s no denying a certain amount of drinking was involved, and, as big fans of beer, with a weakness for anything hop-related, we like to think there’s no better judge for the job.

The best beer advent calendars for 2023 are:

  • Best beer advent calendar overall – Greene King Dadvent calendar beer fridge: £40, Greeneking.co.uk
  • Best beer advent calendar for range of beers – John Lewis beer and snacks advent calendar: £80, Johnlewis.com
  • Best beer advent calendar for craft beer fans – BrewDog craft beer advent calendar: £49.95, Brewdog.com
  • Best beer advent calendar with snacks – Snaffling Pig beer and pork crackling advent calendar: £70, Amazon.co.uk

Greene King Dadvent calendar beer fridge

best beer advent calendars Greene King Dadvent calendar beer fridge review
  • Best: Beer advent calendar overall
  • Number of days: 12
  • Contents: 12 beers, two beer glasses

Showcasing some brilliant packaging, this advent calendar is shaped like a beer fridge. Open the ‘fridge door’ and you’ll find 12 large cardboard drawers filled with beers (typically there was either a large bottle or two cans per drawer) and two beer glasses.

There are 12 beers in total, ranging from classic Greene King tipples, such as Old Speckled Hen, through to lesser-known beers, such as the Ice Breaker pale ale.

The triple-layered cardboard did a great job keeping all the beers in place, too.

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Star Wars original Stormtrooper beer advent calendar

best beer advent calendar Star Wars original Stormtrooper beer advent calendar
  • Best: For Star Wars fans
  • Number of days: 11
  • Contents: 11 beers, one Stormtrooper glass, one snack

Let’s face it – every Star Wars film will inevitably be played at least once over the festive period, so, this quirky advent calendar is actually pretty festive.

Although we felt a little short changed to find there were only 11 beers (alongside a very cool Stormtrooper glass and a snack), we still found plenty to love about this calendar. The slogan-covered packaging was a particular highlight, and one that makes it perfect for gifting (our favourite was the reference to a “patented thirst-targeting system”).

There’s a great mix of beers, all with either festive or Star Wars-themed names. The IPAs were particularly delicious, and we highly rate the Galactic pale ale, a classic American IPA.

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John Lewis beer and snacks advent calendar

best beer advent calendar John Lewis beer and snacks advent calendar
  • Best: For range of beers
  • Number of days: 24
  • Contents: 14 beers, 10 snacks

This is the kind of advent calendar that makes us wish Christmas happened more than once a year. The aspect that really set this calendar apart was the diversity – not only relating to the great range of 14 beers (which included gluten-free beers) but the snacks. We’d never heard of Capital Crisps before, but its salt and vinegar crisps were absolutely delicious, while other munchies contained in the calendar include yoghurt-coated raisins, nuts and roasted fava beans.

This is also another calendar that does especially well when it comes to the festive theme, with a great range of delicious bottled beers, several of which have seasonal names. Our favourites? The Dancer beer, in a bottle bearing the tagline “a red deer, not a reindeer”. We also loved the festive design of this box-shaped calendar, which has 24 circular windows and a green-and-red colour scheme.

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BrewDog craft beer advent calendar

best beer advent calendar BrewDog craft beer advent calendar
  • Best: For fans of craft beer
  • Number of days: 24
  • Contents: 24 beers, one glass

BrewDog fans will love this advent calendar. True, it may not be the most festive one we’ve come across, but the contents more than make up for it.

Inside, you’ll find all the BrewDog classics, including Punk IPA – the brewery’s first beer. You’ll also find lesser-known ones, such as Wingman – a bright, drinkable IPA, perfect for sipping on Christmas Eve (without the risk of getting sloshed before Santa turns up), and Black Heart, which is a gorgeous stout that doubles as a brilliant winter warmer.

  1. £49 from Brewdog.com
Prices may vary
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Best of British Beer advent calendar

best beer advent calendar Best of British Beer British beer advent calendar
  • Best: For championing British brands
  • Number of days: 24
  • Contents: 24 beers

Yes, this is one of the more expensive beer advent calendars, but it’s great to see a brand championing British brands, and there’s something here for every type of beer drinker.

The traditionalists in us loved the Jaipur pale ale, while beers such as the mocha stout are sure to appeal to those keen on a little hops-related experimentation.

This is one of the calendars that had 24 beers – no snacks, glasses or anything else. After all, if there’s one period of the year when you can drink a beer a day (although ideally not before breakfast), it’s Christmas.

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Virgin Wines beer advent calendar

best beer advent calendar Virgin Wines beer advent calendar
  • Best: For lesser-known breweries
  • Number of days: 24
  • Contents: 24 beers

Yes, you did read that correctly – Virgin Wines is doing a beer advent calendar, and despite the slightly higher price tag, it’s actually fantastic.

The box’s design is simple but incredibly classy, with a glossy image of a pine cone and ribbon-adorned Christmas wreath. Inside, there are 24 full-size cans behind every door, and the variety is second to none – you’ll find ales, stouts and pilsners.

The range of producers is pretty impressive too, with inclusions coming from more established breweries, such as Northern Monk and Le Chouffe, but also from smaller microbreweries.

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Best of British Beer lager advent calendar

best beer advent calendar Best of British Beer lager advent calendar
  • Best: For fans of home-grown lager
  • Number of days: 24
  • Contents: 24 beers

This is one of the few calendars we could find that focused on lagers – 24 to be precise. The tipples come from brilliant breweries located in the UK, and it’s another calendar that does especially well when it comes to the range of beers, which is truly diverse. We were unexpectedly smitten by the Che Guava Radical Lager, for example, but appreciated the traditional flavours in the Liberty Lager.

The very cool designs adorning all of the bottles and cans makes it another great option for gifting, too.

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Abbeydale Brewery beer calendar

best beer advent calendar
  • Best: For quantity of beers
  • Number of days: 24
  • Contents: 24 beers

Who doesn’t love an independent brewery? Bag this advent calendar and you’ll get 24 beers, including this fantastic brewery’s best-sellers. There’s something for everyone here (because Christmas is all about sharing, even when it comes to beer), from the deliciously crisp Heresey lager to Absolution, a golden ale first brewed 26 years ago. We were particularly excited about the collaborations, such as the one with Leith’s Campervan Brewery, which joined forces with Abbeydale to bring us the fabulously hoppy Wanderer Transatlantic IPA.

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Snaffling Pig pork crackling advent calendar

best beer advent calendar Snaffling Pig pork crackling advent calendar
  • Best: Beer advent calendar with snacks
  • Number of days: 24
  • Contents: 12 beers, 12 snacks

We’ve got a pet hate for advent calendar doors that are fiddly to open, so we loved the push tabs on this calendar, which made the doors easy to open. Even better, the whole thing is plastic-free.

There are 12 canned beers and 12 packets of pork crackling. Although we can’t help but feel the calendar itself could have a more festive design, we loved the addition of a puzzle on the back (because everyone loves a puzzle at Christmas), while the 12 beers covered all bases (the Mighty Swine Lager was particularly moreish).

We never knew there were so many types of pork crackling until we got this calendar, but the versions included are surprisingly delicious (we highly rate the black pepper version).

  1. £70 from Amazon.co.uk
Prices may vary
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Beavertown craft beer advent calendar

Beavertown craft beer advent calendar
  • Best: Eye-catching design
  • Number of days: 24
  • Contents : 24 beers, a Christmas tree decoration, and a collectible glass

A brewery famous for its achingly hip cans and quirky beer names (Neck Oil, Gamma Ray and Bloody ’Ell are our favourite examples), Beavertown has ticked all the boxes with its eye-wateringly bright advent calendar, which contains 24 beers. New releases are included, along with some Christmas classics, and we loved the added extras, which include a Christmas tree decoration (beer themed, of course) and a collectible glass. It’s a calendar made of sturdy stuff, too – all the beers remained in place.

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Black Sheep Brewery Christmas beer advent calendar

Black Sheep Brewery Christmas beer advent calendar
  • Best: For beer and cider drinkers
  • Number of days: 24
  • Content: Beer, cider and a bottle opener

Believe it or not, there’s such a thing (or so we’re told) as too much beer, which is why we were slightly relieved to discover the 24 windows in this reassuringly weighty advent calendar also contained a couple of ciders and a sturdy bottle opener. The tipples are incredibly diverse, ranging from pale ales to a delicious milk stout and some gorgeous bitters. All of the bottles are hefty 550ml jobs (there are a small number of cans, too) and there are several limited editions and wonderfully weird options – our favourite of which is Monty Python’s Holy Grail pale ale, tempered, apparently, over burning witches.

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Woodforde’s Brewery advent calendar

Woodforde's Advent Calendar
  • Best: Mix of cans and bottles
  • Number of days: 24
  • Contents: 24 cans and bottles of beer

One thing we love about this calendar is it comes with a mix of cans and bottles. There’s a great range of tipples here (all of which are vegan), including IPAs, stouts and a couple of ciders. Festive fun comes in the form of the gorgeous Tinsel Toes Christmas ale, and the bottles were all generously sized 500ml affairs. We loved the packaging, too, with a snow-dusted night sky (featuring 24 circular doors that were easy to open) setting the wintry scene.

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The verdict: Beer advent calendars

We loved the Greene King Dadvent calendar beer fridge for its brilliant design, great value and fantastic selection of beers from the brilliant Greene King. The Star Wars original Stormtrooper beer advent calendar bags the second spot, simply because it’s a fabulously quirky advent calendar that looks absolutely fantastic, while still offering some seriously delicious beers. Finally, you can’t go wrong with John Lewis’s beer and snacks advent calendar, which contains a brilliant variety of nibbles and beers.

Beers are all well and good but if you’re after something a bit more glam, check out the best jewellery advent calendars 2023 for adding some sparkle to your Christmas countdown

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