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 was having an Advent calendar. Advent calendars generally have a space or a window for each day. Each day during Advent we get to open the window for that day.

Opening the window reveals a piece of chocolate or other candy, a small treat for each day of Advent.

A couple years ago I decided to put together my own Craft Beer Advent Calendar. My thinking was Advent is an excellent opportunity to spend some time in the darker end of the pool which is full of porters and stouts. 

It might be time for a refresh. I have visited quite a few breweries and tasting rooms over the last couple of years, and there are plenty of new choices.

Some of our selections are available in bottles or cans, while others will require us to visit the brewery or tasting room.

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

2.  Advent continues with a velvety smooth Baltic Porter brewed seasonally with licorice root by Angel City Brewing in Los Angeles.

3.  Our third day is dedicated to a California Black Beer, an American dark lager brewed by Last Name Brewing Company in Upland, California.

4.  The fourth day of Advent takes us to Montebello, California for an East Side Bitter from Angry Horse Brewing Company.

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

6. Today may be the perfect opportunity to taste a Horchata Stout from Pacific Plate Brewing Company in Monrovia, California.

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

8.  After the first week, I reward myself with one of my favorites, a Mint Chocolate Porter from Bootleggerís Brewery in Fullerton, California.

9. We begin the second week of Advent with a Black Coral Stout from Ohana Brewing Company. Ohana brews its beer in Los Angeles and serves in a tasting room in Alhambra, California.

10. It is a beautiful day to head to the Eastern Frontier and explore a Night Mother milk stout from Wicks Brewing Company in Riverside, California.

11. Today would be a great day for a Speedway Stout from Alesmith Brewing Company in San Diego, California.

12. As long as we are in San Diego County, letís stop in for a Velvet Glove Imperial Oatmeal Stout at Iron Fist Brewing Company in Vista, California.

13. 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.

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

15. As we complete the second week of Advent, letís stop for a Net Positive chocolate stout at the Highland Park Brewery in Highland Park, California.

16. We make the turn and head down the homestretch of Advent with a Thaddeus milk stout at Mount Lowe Brewing in Arcadia, California.

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

18. Past Ventura, and headed toward to culmination of Advent, letís keep going for a Velvet Merlin oatmeal stout at Firestone Walker Brewing Company in Buellton, California.

19. 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.

20. This would be a great day for a Mrs. Adams Oatmeal Stout from Alosta Brewing Company in Covina, California.

21. Today is the day. We head to Rescue Brewing Company in Upland, California for a 10-4 Russian Imperial Stout. It is there, down at the Dark/Roasty bottom of the beer list.

22.  Not only are almost entirely through Advent, but today is my birthday. I reward myself with an Xocoveza Charred Milk Stout from Stone Brewing Company in Escondido, California. Be sure not to miss combining it with the Zocorosa ice cream. It will transform your life.

23. We complete our Advent Calendar at REV Brewing Company in Covina, California. REV is a great place for both beer lovers and those who prefer wine. We are here for a REV Shot in the Dark, a coffee cream ale.

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

Happy Holidays!

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. Gregís website is and he is on Twitter @StrategicMonk. You can email Greg at

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