beer reviews

Harvey’s: Christmas in a bottle

Four strong Harvey's bottled beers.

One of our best Christmas memories is of sitting in the splendidly Victorian Royal Oak, not far from London Bridge, drinking Harvey’s Imperial Stout, when, very obligingly, heavy snow began to fall outside. That’s probably why, when it came to thinking about which beers we wanted in the stash to see us through the bleak midwinter, our thoughts turned to the venerable Sussex brewer.

Their recently tarted up online store offers a mixed case of strong beers with a ‘lucky dip’ approach, i.e. you get what they’ve got in. We ordered one with fingers crossed hoping for at least a couple of bottles of IS and (woop!) got six, and the same of Prince of Denmark, Elizabethan Ale and Christmas Ale. All are in neat little 275ml bottles, perfect for a session with the mince pies.

The great news is that, though IS (9%) remains the star of the show, the others (all 7.5%) are also excellent. They highlight the character of the slightly funky house yeast which adds complexity to what might otherwise be rather sickly-sweet beers.

By way of specifics: Christmas Ale (and this a compliment) could pass for a Fuller’s beer — fruity and round with plenty of orange peel and cherry character; while Prince of Denmark, billed as ‘dark ale’, is in export stout territory — all liquorice and cocoa under a thick brown head. Elizabethan Ale, first brewed in 1952, we’re still getting our heads round, but our first impression was very much ‘Yum’.

While shopping online, we also considered this twin-pack of mini-kegs from Adnams as a Christmas present to ourselves but it didn’t quite suit our plans. Have you spotted any similarly tempting packages?

PS. We’ve never received any freebies from either Harvey’s or Adnams — not even a Christmas card, tangerine or walnut — and paid for the selection box above from our own pocket money.

10 replies on “Harvey’s: Christmas in a bottle”

Heh,heh,heh – you see how quickly the slide sets in.One minute you’re embarrassed about being in the VIP section of a brewery event and the next you’re making pointed remarks about not receiving any freebies and GOD FORBID, paying for your own beer.

Keep a clear conscience if not a clear head.

Wahaay !

“Pointed?” Just trying to make the boring disclosure bit less boring. We pay for almost all of our own beer and are quite happy doing so!

For what my opinion may be worth, I don’t think that you guys actually need to state that you *didn’t* get the beer you’re writing about for free.
Disclosure when you have had a freebie, perhaps, but I don’t myself believe that anybody who reads this blog at all regularly or carefully believes that the odd free bottle or brewery tour would sway your collective judgement anyway.

I wouldn’t worry personally.
For what it’s worth, though, you definitely put me in the mood for a visit to the Royal Oak!

sounds like an ideal selection, those are probably the four I’d most like to try but no point ordering now I’m heading away for a month!

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