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 thoughts on “Harvey’s: Christmas in a bottle”

  1. 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 !

    1. 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!

      1. 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.

          1. 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!

  2. 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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