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Unwrap the spirit with delicious local beers

Matthew Poirier’s monthly column, Matter of Beer
A snapshot in time of what you can expect on tap at the Phillips Tasting Room. (Matt Poirier)

The end of 2023 is in sight, but as we still have a month to go, what better way to enjoy it than finding some surprises and hidden gems made nearby while planning get-togethers to share and look back on the year that was?

As December approaches, advent calendars start to pop up, and this year is no different. Phillips Brewing is back with their Space Case with 12 tasting room-only beers, re-released in a special package. While it may not be the usual 24 items for an advent calendar, this format gives more flexibility to those choosing not to drink a beer every day.

If you are interested in trying Phillips’ beers again at the Tasting Room, you can plan for an evening of fun on Dec. 7 where beers from the case will be on tap from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m., with DJ Jesus Cuervo adding to the fun from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. This event is free to get in and usually fills up fast with people wanting to try these unique brews, so make a plan for it, head down, and enjoy.

Fewer breweries are doing up advent calendars (they’re a lot of work), and for some people, they want to select their own choice of beers. For those looking to create a custom beer advent calendar, Craftmasbox, based out of Richmond, might be what they need. Their advent boxes come perfectly sized to put in your own choice of beer, small bottles of wine, gift cards and more. So instead of worrying about which brewery is releasing one, you can make the perfect version for the people you love. Boxes are $24.99 plus tax and shipping, and you get the perfect box with perforated openings to make up a 24-day calendar that will fit anyone’s interest. Check out for details.

Speaking of gifts for the people you love, travelling to see friends and family is an opportunity to bring along some of the beers you can only get from your home city/town. Take the time to check in at a local taproom or liquor store, and tap their expertise. Find out if there are beers that haven’t shipped anywhere else, and bring some with you to try and share among people who might never get another chance.

Wherever you’re staying or travelling, do so safely, drink responsibly, and enjoy the holidays.

Phillips Space Case 2022. (Courtesy Phillips Brewing)