We had written a post saying pretty much exactly what Tandleman says here. As that’s now a bit redundant, we thought instead that we’d suggest some beers which, although not necessarily Christmas themed, fit the season better than many of the bland, brown santa-bothering bitters appearing on pumps up and down the country.
1. Brooklyn Chocolate Stout (10%)
Dark, very rich and strong, this isn’t an everyday beer, and so makes a perfect Christmas indulgence.
2. Bush Noel (12%)
Our bottle had been in storage for a year or two. Wowzers. Maple, biscuit and lots of booze.
3. Dark Star Imperial Stout (10.5%)
On tap at the Rake. Sherry, coffee, vanilla… in fact, too many beautiful overlapping flavours to list.
4. Sam Smith’s Winter Welcome (6%)
Brown, sure enough, but rich and super-fruity, with suggestions of banana and pineapple as well as the usual orangey English hop flavours.
5. Brodie’s Ho Ho Ho (5.5%)
A good example of how to do a Christmas beer — subtle spicing, beefy malt flavours and with the body of a much stronger beer.
6. Fuller’s 1845 (6.3)
London Pride doesn’t get a look in — this powerful ale really does taste like candied orange peel and so gets all our love in December.
7. Hepworth Vintage Christmas Ale (7.5%)
Sort of a barley wine? There are flavours of candied peel and nuts balanced with veritable hop bitterness. Ages well, too.
Auditioned and rejected: Wassail by Ballard’s (tasted like it had been cut with unfermented brown sugar) and Santa’s Wobble by Hogs Head (interesting but with an unwelcome hint of vinegar).
Any other suggestions very welcome! And, as always, if you’re reviewed any of these beers and would like us to link to your review in the post, let us know.