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The Rake at Christmas and Great Divide Yeti Imperial Stout

If you want to get into the Christmassy spirit in London, a trip to Borough Market is a winner. Geese, game pies, mulled cider, and carol-singers under a tree. A real Dickensian wonderland (just wish they had Dickensian prices). All the better if you go on a weekday afternoon when you should be in work.

Having carefully selected some beers in Utobeer to go with Christmas dinner (more on that after Christmas) we retired to the Rake for a quiet drink or six. We hadn’t been for a few months – it’s rather difficult to get in the door in the evenings these days – and were pleased to see that what was on offer had changed considerably since the last time we were there. Not that there was anything wrong with the previous selection, it’s just good to see change and variety.

On tap; HopBack Entire Stout, O’Hanlon’s Goodwill, Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale, La Chouffe N’ice, Koestritzer Schwarzbier and I think Maisels’ Weisse. In bottles, another two hundred or so.

yeti.jpgOf the various beers we had, Goodwill was great in that it wasn’t just a standard bitter with some cinnamon in it. Instead, the brewers had gone for citrusy flavours and succeeded in creating a nicely balanced, warming bitter. Similar citrusy flavours abounded in Celebration Ale, which also tasted of peaches. La Chouffe was very tasty, but then at 10% it should be! All excellent beers.

But the star of the show was Great Divide’s Yeti Imperial Stout (in bottles). Now, we’d had a few drinks beforehand, so I’m not sure in the cold light of the morning I’d be as bold as to say it was the best beer I’d ever tasted (which I said a few times last night to anyone who’d care to listen…) But it knocked our socks off sufficiently that we ordered another one straight afterwards, rather than try a new beer. It’s 9.5% and almost jet black, with a gorgeous mocha-coloured head. It reminded me of an amazing hot chocolate I once had in Spain, which was 85% cocoa solids. Incredibly chocolatey, thick and silky, but not at all sweet. It’s very bitter (it proudly boasts “75 bittering units”) but the hop bitterness blends perfectly with the cocoa bitterness. It’s a sledgehammer of a beer.

6 replies on “The Rake at Christmas and Great Divide Yeti Imperial Stout”

Great Divide has some really standout beers, so if you spot any others, I recommend ordering/purchasing them. Yeti’s a solid beer; not sure how you’d feel about its oak-aged cousin, but I like both a great deal.

With your latest reviews of American beer, I may have to put a spotlight on a couple of UK offerings to return the favor! Cheers!

I don’t like to complain about this sort of thing, but I find the Rake fills up with drunk blokes in cheap suits. As such it’s the usual ill-tempered jostle-fest as soon as evening comes.

We were in there on Thursday night, after dining in The Royal Oak. To be honest it was dreadful. Massive beer selections don’t excite me if the setting isn’t right. I had a couple of good afternoon sessions there in summer, but since then I’ve not been a fan.

On the plus side I got to try Flying Dog Gonzo Imperial Porter (interesting, I’m reserving judgement until I try it again) and Left Hand Imperial Stout (excellent).

Well, we had a great time (also on Thursday), but we did get there shortly after midday. We heard the bar stuff giving lots of helpful advice to people about what to drink and how it was made. I don’t care how popular it gets; while it continues to turn over the beer selection like that, I reckon it merits a visit, even if we have to take the occasional afternoon off to get a seat.

Wasn’t paying attention to anyone’s suits!

We have a Gonzo Imperial Porter in, looks interesting…

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