Monday, 14 December 2009

Seasonal Cheer?

I know that a lot of beer blogs out there have been bemoaning the Christmas beers and sadly I have to agree. The last couple of years it has been difficult to source them in bottle or cask form and increasingly we only see a small percentage of them in our pubs. The ones we do see are ones which are similar to the other ales on tap; I guess this is a business decision to sell what they know sells. There are some cracking ones out there but the lack of them in the pub removes a small part of the magic of the season for me.

Whacking up the ABV not a seasonal ale make, is a lesson I would like to see taken to heart. Fuller’s have heeded this with Jack Frost, which I tried for the first time this year and I really enjoyed the subtle seasonal-ness of this beer and it has an added bonus of a lowish ABV (for Christmas beers) means that it can be enjoyed for more than two pints if desired. But majority of seasonal beers we see in the pubs are well done if normal beers, slightly stronger but nothing about them particularly says Christmas in neither smell nor taste. For example I tried Tom Wood’s Christmas Cheer and Nethergate’s Frank Incensed this weekend and whilst really enjoyable they weren’t Christmassy. I wouldn’t be upset to be given a pint of either of these but they just don’t spell out the seasonal magic.

However it is not all gloom, I see from the copy of London Drinker that there are more different Christmas beers to try than the ones I have seen. I guess the upshot is to taste those beers which make you think of Christmas and look forward to the next year means we the drinkers, are going to have to get used to planning and research our seasonal quaffing.

So let raise a glass to the potential and go and find it!

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