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Ultimate 6er | Beer Pairings with Advent

Beer Advent Week

This isn’t your typical Ultimate 6er – we’re getting theological here. Most people think of Advent calendars when they think about pairing beers with Advent. We’re taking a different bent on the term and pairing six beers with the four weeks of Advent in a different way.

Advent begins on November 28 this year, and starts with the “First Sunday of Advent,” continuing with the season of Advent until Christmas Day on December 25. There are always four Sundays in Advent and each week has a different theme according to the Lectionary (readings for a worship service) that is followed most commonly by Catholic, Episcopal and Lutheran denominations of Christianity (though some Presbyterian and Methodist churches do, too). We’ll focus on the Episcopal collects (pronounced COL-lects instead of the typical way), or prayers, of the weeks of Advent because you’ve got an Episcopalian here and as the saying goes, “where three or four Episcopalians are gathered, there’s bound to be a fifth!”

If you’re interested, you can find the collects in all their glory by visiting BCPonline.org.

The First Sunday of Advent

The Alchemist | Rapture

We’re “cast[ing] away the works of darkness,” as the collect for the First Sunday of Advent says, and preparing for Jesus’ second coming, as foretold in the Bible. For this, we’re turning to “Rapture” by The Alchemist. As many already know, The Alchemist is renowned for its hoppy offerings, namely Focal Banger IPA and Heady Topper DIPA (why Rapture doesn’t rank among them, I don’t know). Rapture’s name is obviously fitting for this week and the strong hop presence will wake you up to gird your loins as you meditate on this week’s theme of the Second Coming.


The Second Sunday of Advent

Epic Brewing Co. | Big Bad Baptist

A lot of people refer to the Second Sunday of Advent as “John the Baptist Sunday,” because John the Baptist is featured most prominently in the scripture readings at church. Look no further than Epic Brewing’s “Big Bad Baptist,” an Imperial Stout with cocoa nibs and coffee beans. It’s rated a whopping 4.2 on Untappd and known as one of the best Imperial Stouts around. Though this beer probably wasn’t named for John the Baptist (Big Bad [John the] Baptist, anyone?), he was a pretty “big” deal and kind of a “bad”-ass in the Bible, so it’s appropriate for this week.

Connecticut Valley Brewing Co. | The Prophet

The Prophet is an ever-so-slightly lighter, more delicate version of a New England IPA, packed with Mosaic and Amarillo hops for a punch. The brightness in the hop profile will certainly wake you up – similar to prophet John the Baptist’s proclamation of Jesus making “the crooked straight, and the rough places plain (Luke 3:5).” The beer itself is almost reminiscent of the “rough places” of the hops at the front being “made plain” with the juicy NEIPA finish. (Though after a few of these at 7.1%, you may get a little more crooked than straight!)


The Third Sunday of Advent

Pipeworks Brewing Co. | Brown & Stirred

The Third Sunday of Advent is sometimes referred to as “Stir Up Sunday” because of the first line of the collect for the week: “Stir up your power, O Lord, and with great might come among us…” Look no further than Brown & Stirred, a Manhattan cocktail-inspired Strong Ale. It clocks in at a whopping 10.5% ABV and if you were blindfolded, you’d be convinced you’re drinking a Manhattan. Plus, many Episcopalians are Anglophiles and the malt bill on this means the beer has a distinct English bent.

Crooked Stave | Sour Rosé

The author would be remiss if she didn’t mention a rosé beer. The other and significantly more popular name for the Third Sunday of Advent is Gaudete Sunday, which originates from the Latin word Gaudete or “Rejoice.” The candle on the Advent wreath is rose (or pink; some people have a hard time with calling it pink because technically it’s rose but everyone still calls it pink). There are many rosé beers out there, but Crooked Stave makes one of the best. The raspberry and blueberry sweetness balances beautifully with the funky wild yeast and creates a not-too-sweet, not-too-sour beer that’s perfect for any season, but especially on Gaudete Sunday!


The Fourth Sunday of Advent

DuClaw Brewing Co. | Sweet Baby Jesus

The Fourth Sunday of Advent gets us really close to the birth of Christ and the stories we hear at church tell us that Jesus’s birth is near. The obvious choice here was DuClaw’s Sweet Baby Jesus, a chocolate peanut butter Porter that is simply the best. As we prepare a place in our hearts for the Baby Jesus, we can sit around the fire and sip on this delectable beer.

Save the Christmas beers for the twelve days of Christmas! Until then, have a Happy Advent as you drink these and prepare for the joys of Christmas.


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