|Foiled again: Secret Santa gone mad|
But as St Andrews Day is celebrated around the flat-roofed estate pubs of thriving Scottish new towns such as Cumbernauld in the traditional manner, so the clock ticks ever closer to the annual liver-testing phenomenon that is the Beer Advent Calendar.
I've seen a fair few pale imitations tweeted recently, from the likes of BarChick, Darkstar and BrewDog Shoreditch to name but a few. Apart from thinking I really should have copyrighted this, it is quite flattering to have your idea appropriated by larger organisations with more clout.
No matter. You only need to look back through the archives or take a biopsy from my liver (if that's even possible - I'm no doctor) to see who's been flying the alcoholic advent calendar flag the longest.
And while I imagine some of these arrivistes have given their calendars a modicum of thought, this year the original and best has gone one better. Yes, just when you thought I'd run out of theme ideas, someone else suggests a challenge I'm all over.
A recently qualified Bristol-based beer judge and a good mate to boot, Sam Tait suggested doing a 'mystery mix' of beers for the calendar this year and has compiled a crate of 24 'Best of the South West' ales for me to drink/review/shower with praise/slag-off/delete as applicable.
The twist? Why the treacherous swine has only gone and covered each bottle in foil, thereby obscuring the label. So I don't know what I'm drinking. Each one will kind of literally be 'blind drunk'. Which will need a bit of faith on your part, dear reader, and no small amount of will power on mine. I'll also need to think up some way of presenting 'the reveal' when I peel off the foil and find out what it is I've been drinking. A video it won't be, but I'll have to do something.
Tune in tomorrow afternoon for the first instalment and find out. I'm genuinely intrigued at how things will pan out this year.