I swore I would never buy a large beer pack with the intent of actually reviewing the brews ever, ever again. I bought one of the Mannerhandtasche XXL (The Man Bag in German) at Lidl back in the summer and took it forever before I was in the mood to taste 13 beers in reasonable amount of time (I still need to publish that review). So as soon as I swore to never buy another one I grabbed the first Brewer’s Advent Calendar I saw at Costco back in September for $69.99. That was a much better price than the $99 Costco wanted for the Wine Adventure Advent Calendar. It is packaged by the same company that produced the Man Bag. Instead of 13 it’s now 24 and I have no clue as to what’s in there. But I suspect it might be some of the same beers I had over the summer. Both are “Original Kalea” which apparently is the company that puts them together. Their website shows their US, Germany, Austria editions of their Advent calendars plus two labeled “Edition Brew Factory” and “Edition Super Brewery.” Looks like the ones for Europe come with a tasting glass and possibly in bottles (unclear there because they specifically mention cans for the US edition because they ship better).

Kalea Brewer's Advent Calendar
Kalea Brewer’s Advent Calendar
Dig a little deeper and you find a Craft Beer Calendar (filled with “beer nerd-flavored Craft Beer”) and an International Beer Advent Calendar and a “Bad Santa” edition.

One blogger said about the Man Bag that he suspects you would never find any of these brews labeled like this in Germany and these are beers designed for the labels and for other markets. The Man Bag had all of the brews printed on the box, the Advent Calendar is sealed and you have to look for the numbers and pull them out like an old honeycomb style Coke machine from back in the 50s.

Tonight I start with the Grantler Hell–Grumpy German Helles. Perfect for me because I’ve been grumpy all day.

We are in remodeling hell. Like many folks who decided to make some updates to their homes we are suffering from supply-chain woes. We find ourselves looking at a Christmas without a master bedroom and bathroom. The assurances of “we’ll be done by Christmas” started to become hollow after the framing guys said they could be on site for 5 weeks and the countertop folks said they had only 2 dates open in December for installation but that was only after they’ve been given 2 weeks notice on the cabinets being installed. The windows should arrive in January sometime. The dogs are going nuts because there’s hammering and strange people in their house.

I’m grumpy.

I was tasked with dinner so I pulled some frozen chicken chili that Mrs. Dan made a month or so ago and decided I would start with the first beer of the calendar. The Grantler Hell looks like a lager. Tastes like a German lager. Clear as a bell. I’m not sure un-filtered beer is part of any beer movement in Germany (or would that make it beer-nerd flavored?). If this stuff is being made for the US market then they probably don’t want to risk a bunch of sediment at the bottom of the can after sitting on some cargo ship for a month or two.

I’m glad it was 4.9%. It didn’t impair my preparation of dinner. I finished the 16.9 ozs (500 ml) while waiting for the chili to thaw and to make “crumpets,” something my mother used to make with toasted English muffins, butter, cheese and in today with the last of the 19 lb turkey from Thanksgiving. And to top it off I opened the cheese advent calendar I bought from Publix (I admit I’m weak). Now these guys kinda cheat because they serve the same 9 cheeses over 24 days. Not like the beer calendar with 24 different beers (but they could swap labels and use the same beer. I met a lawyer who worked the third shift at a Schlitz factory when he was in college in the 70s. He said that Schlitz and Old Milwaukee were the same beer. Just depended on which cans they used that night).

Grantler Hell Grumpy German Helles beer
Grantler Hell Grumpy German Helles beer
So this is so clear I could read through the glass if it wasn’t curved. No head to speak of. Served it cold and in a frosted glass. The first sip seemed a bit malty. Second and following sips was more gentle hops. This beer is nice and crisp but doesn’t have a dry finish. This beer tastes like …. beer. Nowadays you can blind taste some craft beers and you aren’t sure if you are really drinking beer. This tastes like beer. Looks like beer with the slightly yellow wheat-ish color. I would drink it at a party or drink it in a German Kneipe and not complain. I would not drink it everyday because there are too many dark beers out there I would prefer to be trying.

The box has a barcode on it to download an app called BeerTasting on your iPhone that supposedly scans the label and tells you about the beer you’re trying. I scanned it and got a bunch of beer but not this one. I finally typed in the name and found a bottle and a can. The reviews look pretty generic and the scores for color, taste etc where all pretty much the same. The app provided no real info.

The can says it is brewed by Schloss Brauerei in Herrngiersdorf, Germany. I tried to visit their website but it says “We will be back soon. Our website is currently unavailable.” The Google blurb says that it’s temporary closed. Those guys are hurting bad from Covid right now. They are in my prayers.

But it was a good sipping companion as I prepared dinner today. Wonder what’s hidden behind Door #2 for tomorrow.

I’ll be hitting the cheese advent calendar tomorrow as well

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