Traditional Christmas Ales

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

I know that there's a lot of snobbery on both sides of the Craft versus Camra/Real Ale beer scenes but I'm not really interested in politics, elitism or narrow mindedness.

I like beer.

During this blog I've done my best to explore some really interesting offerings from some of the most forwarding thinking breweries out there but that doesn't mean that I can't still enjoy a traditional ale.

So as part of this festive season, I've picked up four beers from my local Morrisons Supermarket to sample what some very long established British brewers are offering as their Christmas specials.

Beer Name: Rosey Nosey

Brewer: Batemans, Lincolnshire, UK

Date Sampled: 13th December 2016

ABV: 4.7%

Serving Type: Bottle

Location Sampled: Home

Beers do not get much more traditional than this. Rosey Nosey pours a rich coppery brown colour with a small head that persists for a reasonable length of time.

It's nose is earthy with a slight hint of dark winter fruits.

The mouth feel is quite pleasing, with a medium body and carbonation helping make it very swiggable.

The flavour is simple too, with some of the dark fruits following through from the nose to add a slight depth to the hops and malts.

Rosey Nosey may be a little old fashioned but that's not always a bad thing. It's a simple ale done well and would slip down very easy on a cold winter's afternoon in front of a roaring fire.

Beer Name: Bah Humbug

Brewer: Wychwood Brewery, Oxfordshire, UK

Date Sampled: 13th December 2016

ABV: 5%

Serving Type: Bottle

Location Sampled: Home

Now this is a how an English Ale is supposed to look in the glass... flat, brown and with very little head!

The hops give it an almost floral nose, but there's nothing especially festive about it.

It is quite light bodied with very little carbonation.

There are hints of banana in the flavour, with slight notes of Christmas spices as well.

Bah Humbug is okay, but certainly not one I'd be desperate to see in my stocking on the 25th December.

Beer Name: Festive Pudding Ale

Brewer: Greene King, Suffolk, UK

Date Sampled: 13th December 2016

ABV: 6%

Serving Type: Bottle

Location Sampled: Home

Now this has some festiveness going on! In the glass is much darker in colour than the previous two, almost mahogany brown, with no head to speak off.

On the nose there is definite dark fruits and toffee.

It has a medium to heavy body with no real carbonation to speak of.

In the taste the dark winter fruits and toffee carry through from the nose, which along with the malts that come in strong at the end definitely give it a Christmas Pudding feel.

This is not a bad beer at all and one I'd happily crack open again.

Beer Name: Blitzen

Brewer: Black Sheep Brewery, North Yorkshire, UK

Date Sampled: 13th December 2016

ABV: 4%

Serving Type: Bottle

Location Sampled: Home

Well this one wins the award for cutest label and name; I love that happy little reindeer on the label.

Blitzen has the liveliest pour of all of these Christmas beers, and the head does a decent job of hanging around. The beer is an almost crystal clear coppery colour which does look very appealing.

The orange peel and brown sugar that are evident on the nose does give this a lovely festive aroma.

Sadly, that's where the good news finishes. In the mouth I found this too heavily carbonated; it almost feels like a lager.

That coupled with an overpowering bitterness leaves a mouthful that is actually pretty devoid of much flavour.

It's a shame as if the flavours from the nose had followed through then this would have been a pretty good beer.

So in conclusion; well I'm not really blown away by any of these and fear that there's a slight case of Christmas style over substance.

That being said, Rosey Nosey and Festive Pudding were very drinkable and are an example of how there's still a plenty of live left in traditional English style brewing.

1 comment:

  1. Great photos, shame you didn't love them, but then again you don't need too with labels that cute!


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