Art of Craft ~ brews and reviews
By Greg Richardson

It is December! Many churches are in a liturgical season called Advent, a time of preparation for Christmas.

There are several strategic ways to plan the ways we prepare for Christmas. One of my favorites when I was a child is using an Advent calendar. Advent calendars work in various ways, though generally there is a space for each day. Many of them have spaces which work like little windows, so a new window is opened each day.

Opening the window might reveal a piece of chocolate or other candy, so there is a small treat each day of Advent.

This year, I was thinking there might be a better way to mark the days and help me remember to prepare. I thought it might be helpful to design my own craft beer Advent calendar.

Many Advent calendars begin on December 1, so you can follow along with me:

1.  I will begin Advent with a Smoked Black Lager from Craftsman Brewing Company in Pasadena, California.

2.  Advent continues with a Vanilla Porter Ale brewed seasonally with vanilla beans by Angel City Brewing in Los Angeles. 

3.  Our third day is dedicated to a California Black Beer, which is an American dark lager brewed  by Dale Brothers Brewery in Upland, California.

4.  The fourth day of Advent takes us back to Los Angeles for an East LA IPA from Angry Horse Brewing Company.

5.  Today I head up to Agoura Hills, California for a Picture City Porter at Ladyface Ale Companie.

6.  This day reminds us that Congregation Ale House also brews their own beers. I choose to remember with a Dark of the Covenant American dark ale.

7.  Completing the first week of Advent, I turn to a Solidarity Black Mild Ale from Eagle Rock Brewery in Los Angeles. Nitro?

8.  After the first week, I reward myself with an Xocoveza Charred Milk Stout from Stone Brewing Company in Escondido, California.

9.  Though I am tempted by a Gifts of the Magi today at Lost Abbey in San Marcos, California, I stick with my first inclination, a Serpent’s Stout.

10. Today is the day for a Black Lightning Porter at Lightning Brewery, the very scientific brewery in Poway, California.

11. The trip to Alpine, California is worth it to visit Alpine Brewing Company and commemorate this day in Advent with a Captain Stout.

12. I think I will stop in today for a Martial Law at Iron Fist Brewing Company in Vista, California.

13. It feels like a good day to head to Anaheim, California for a Financier at Noble Ale Works.

14. This could be the perfect day for a drive to Redlands, California for a Chocolate Porter a tHangar 24 Brewery, at the Redlands Airport.

15. We are deep into Advent, and I will celebrate with a Noche de los Muertos Imperial Stout with Cinnamon from Aztec Brewery in Vista, California.

16. Today is the day we head over to Riverside, California for a Black Beauty Cream Stout at Packinghouse Brewing Company.

17. I think I will head up the California coast to Ventura to sample an Oil Piers Porter at Surf Brewery.

18. Past Ventura, we might as well continue on to Santa Barbara and grab a Ravena Stout at Telegraph Brewing Company.

19. As long as we are already in Santa Barbara, and headed toward to culmination of Advent, let’s keep going for a Velvet Merlin at Firestone Walker Brewing Company in Buellton, California.

20. If we were driving up the California coast, I would push on to Cambria, California for an Old #23 Robust Porter at the 927 Beer Company.

21. On our way back south, let’s stop in Van Nuys, California for a Jackie Tar brown stout at MacLeod Ale Brewing Company. it is either that or a King’s Taxes.

22.  Not only are almost entirely through Advent, but today is my birthday. One of my favorites is Mint Chocolate Porter from Bootlegger’s Brewery in Fullerton, California.

23. Today we head to Inglewood, California to visit Three Weavers Brewing Company at enjoy a Midnight Flight Imperial Stout.

24. Today is Christmas Eve. If you have prepared well, you are ready for Christmas. Stay home, relax, and taste some of the beer you bought in anticipation of tomorrow.


Greg Richardson is a leadership and organizational coach, and a spiritual life mentor, in Pasadena, California. He is passionate about craft brewing, listening, and monks and monastic life. Greg is a recovering attorney, executive, and university professor. Greg’s website is and he is on Twitter @StrategicMonk. You can email Greg at

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