Seasonal beers I have to admit don’t really rock my boat, in fact I’d go as far as saying they get right on my tits..
I’m not talking about beers suited to actual “seasons”, I quite look forward to the gradual change in emphasis from light and hoppy through to dark and heavy as the cold nights draw in and the heating is cranked up. I’m actually pointing a pudgy finger right at those bandwagon jumpers, you know the sort, anything remotely spooky at Halloween and such like.
It’s a similar story at Christmas, hand-pulls are tackily decked with pump-clips emblazoned with red-nosed beardy fat men, elves bottoms and buxom ladies with a sprig of holly tucked in their over exaggerated collectively heaving cleavages. With quite often lack lustre offerings the result in the glass, usually brown-black and stinking of nutmeg and cinnamon. Voilà, Christmas beer see, it says so on there, just above the comedy robin.
At Christmas though there is a rather pleasant side effect to this deluge or mediocrity in that it’s time to bring out some absolute classics, beers that although the stout-hearted drink year round, are just so much nicer in December and onwards to the spring time thaw.
So I’ve decided to put on my Hash-tag Activists virtual sandwich board again and organise another tasting session focussing (for me personally) on a few of my favourites. I’m hoping though that after reading what other people are up to, I can get a few more little gems to stick on my Christmas list. I’d be particularly interested in UK brewery’s offerings that you think buck that trend and are absolutely unmissable?
I’ve listed a few beers I’d recommend trying below, most I admit will need a visit to a decent beer shop to find, be that local or online, but none are overly rare either and should be readily available. As normal though I’d urge anyone to add further suggestions in comments too. If you are still struggling though, supermarkets will all have something and as a last resort wrap a bit of tinsel around a bottle of whatever you have and join in the fun.
- Gouden Carolus – Christmas
- Anchor – Christmas Ale
- De Dolle – Stille Nacht
- Mikkeller – Santas Little Helper
- St Bernardus – Christmas
- Port Brewing Co – Santas Little Helper (copyright?)
- Gordon Xmas
- Mikkeller – Hoppy Lovin Christmas
- Evil Twin – Before, During and After Christmas (Impy IPA)
- The Bruery – Four Calling Birds
- La Rulles – Cuvee Meilleus Voeux (made with Orval yeast)
- Kloster Andechs – Doppelbock Dunkel
- Williams Brewery – Nollaig
- Art Brew – Christmas Tree Beer
- Delirium Christmas
- Bristol Beer Factory – Twelve Stouts of Christmas
To stress, as always these are ideas only, no pressure at all to gather them all or indeed any, it’s meant to be a fun way to discover new beers and maybe styles you’ve not tried before. There are a few different takes Christmas above and although dark and rich dominates, there is the odd hoppy number in there too, get what you can and get stuck in.
Looking for stockists, there are links to the online purveyors of fine beers I use below, but please make sure you are kind to your local beer stores too.
Open a Christmas themed beer at any point during Friday 14th December, no time limits apply as folks from all over the world join in when suits and as time zones apply. Use the #SeasonsTweetings hash-tag and tell us what you are up to. Organise tasting sessions with your friends, family, partner or maybe just go to the pub, what ever applies.
So, three things to remember, beers, Friday 14th December and the #SeasonsTweetings hash-tag..