Saturday, 31 December 2016

12 Beers of Xmas #12 - Imperial Stout Special Edition (Cloudwater)

OK it is nearly midnight so this will be quick.  Cloudwater of Manchester are the best brewery in the UK at the moment.  No debate here.  This bottle just confirms that fact.  And to think I have two more of their imperial stout editions that I am hibernating for next Christmas and beyond just makes me incredibly happy.  It is only just over two years since I was sat in the Marble Arch, Manchester with Jim Cullen (aka BeersManchester) when we were joined briefly by Al and Emma.  Al was telling us about the imminent launch of a new brewery that was going to specialise in seasonal beers.  Sounded great and it really has been fantastic.  This year I have had plenty of Cloudwater and I want more and more.          

This is everything I was hoping for from every imperial stout in my #12BeersofXmas this year.  To be honest though this is only one of two that has actually delivered.  Great body with a lovely pop when I opened the bottle.  Easily drinkable and so smooth you could skate on it.  What an absolutely perfect way to bring in the new year.  

Happy new year to everyone reading this.  Let 2017 bring even more joy from Cloudwater.


12 Beers of Xmas #11 - Mooi & Meedogenloos (de Molen)

My second substitution of my #12BeersOfXmas and another trip into continental Europe.  Holland to be precise.  Brouwerij de Molen began brewing in 2004 in a windmill called De Arkhuif, a building dating back to 1697, situated in the town of Bodegraven.  They have had joint beer projects with Mikkeller and de Struisse as well as taking part in recreating historic recipes.  Their success required another building which was acquired in 2012 a short distance from the mill which increased their capacity per batch to 2500l.  In 2010 they were rated in the top ten of RateBeers "Best Brewers in the World".  Quite some feat.  Cotteridge Wines stock a wide range of their products and I have loved every one if them.

Earlier this year I tried a bourbon aged version of this beer and both myself and my wife fell in love with it.  So much so that I awarded it my favourite foreign bottled beer of 2016.  However, this one I prefer if I am being honest.  It has four malts (pils, caramel, chocolate and roasted), two hops (Chinook and Saaz) and a top fermenting yeast.  It is like a barley wine in many respects with plenty of rich fruit cake flavours and the chocolate and roasted malt character shine through too.  It is silky smooth and so drinkable.  A really fabulous beer.  I will be buying more of this in 2017.


Thursday, 29 December 2016

12 Beers of Xmas #10 - Sadako (Weird Beard)

Weird Beard from London are so loved that two northern beer bloggers I know voted them best overseas brewer this year!!!  High praise indeed.  I absolutely love their beers, especially on cask when you can find them, as indeed I did on more than one occasion at the Craven Arms, Birmingham this year.  They surely need no more introduction to any of my readers out there.  A quick history though in case you have been asleep since 2013 when they began brewing.  They have expanded regularly since then with two new 20-barrel fermenters to go with their six 10-barrel ones.  That means plenty of Weird Beard for people like me who love everything they brew.  Yet another massive thank you to Cotteridge Wines for pushing their beers onto me.    

This particular beer came in a 660ml bottle with a wax seal.  At 9.5% ABV it is a potent imperial stout brewed with 10 different malts along with honey, molasses, oats and fresh coffee beans making it a dark, rich experience.  That's what it says on the bottle at least.  Which is pretty accurate as you would expect.  The coffee notes are strong and give a long, dry lingering finish.  There is sweetness from the molasses too and overall it is yet another superb intoxicating brew from WB.  I love it!


12 Beers of Xmas #9 - #500 (Nogne O)

My need for hops has been quenched.  Phew.  Nogne O (my keyboard doesn't have the right character but there should be a line through the 'O') is Norway's leading producer of craft beer and, here's a thing, the only producer of sake in Europe.  Their name means "naked island".  Their story goes back to 2002 when Gunnar Wiig and Kjetil Jikiun decided to found a new brewery.  They love Maris Otter UK malt and the big C US hops (Cascade, Centennial, Chinook and Colombus).  In 2003 they produced a mere 300hl and in 2015 it was a much more impressive 20,000 hl.  In 2013 the brewery was acquired by Hansa Borg Bryggerier, a family owned group of regional brewers and Nogne O continue to grow at their base in Grimstad. I have loved many of their beers and Cotteridge Wines always stock a good selection from them.

This beer is big on numbers.  It is a celebration of their 500th brew so it must have been initially brewed some time ago because on my same shop I also picked up their #1000 which may be kept for next Christmas.  This particular beer though was batch #1357 and it was bottled in January 2015.  So what are the other numbers I hear you ask.  Five malts, 100 IBUs, 5 Hops and 10% ABV.  Quite something.  It has a bit of a creamy feel to it with butterscotch notes in the base and the hops permeate through above this malty base for what is actually a highly drinkable balanced beer.  It really is quite lovely.


Wednesday, 28 December 2016

12 Beers of Xmas #8 - Barrel Aged Even More Jesus VIII (Siren Craft w/ Evil Twin)

This beer is a late substitution for my planned beer #8.  Same brewery (Siren Craft) but this is a small bottle and due to having to catch up following an illness-induced dry day yesterday I thought this would be a better option.  It was a particularly attractive beer though which I picked up at Cotteridge Wines last week so it was always a possible replacement.  I seem to have been loving Siren beers for ages now but they are relatively new having been born in 2012.  In 2014 they won best new brewery in England by and this particular beer is highly regarded with a rating of over 4.3 on Untappd.  This beer is a collaboration with Denmark's highly rated gypsy brewer Evil Twin, a brewer with offices in both New York and Copenhagen.

This beer is brewed with heaps of muscovado sugar and English liquorice root.  It is an 11.4% ABV stout that has been aged in hazelnut liqueur barrels and this is by far the best imperial stout I have tasted for many a long year.  It is silky smooth with noticeable notes of both hazelnut and liquorice as you would expect from the description.  For me this is absolute perfection in a glass and I am so glad it is one of my '12 Beers'.


Monday, 26 December 2016

12 Beers of Xmas #7 - Oak Aged Silverback (Blue Monkey)

Today we head to the East Midlands for a massive beer from those cheeky primates at Blue Monkey, a brewery established in 2008.  They are now based in Giltbrook where they produce up to 20,000 pints a beer each week with such great names such as BG Sips, Ape Ale, Funky Gibbon and the fabulous 99 Red Baboons.  They also have four pubs, all of which are called the Organ Grinder, and one of these is in my home town of Loughborough.  I have to thank my work colleague, Martin Hamer, for this particular beer.  He lives a short hop from the brewery and when he told me about this one he kindly offered to pick one up for me.    

This is the strongest beer I have ever tasted coming in at 13% ABV.  It also comes in a full 1 litre bottle.  The Blue Monkey guys brew an imperial stout called Silverback, the name for an adult male gorilla.  This beer comes in slightly lower on the ABV scale but after storing it in oak casks it has obviously crept up a bit.  Coming on the back of the bourbon aged imperial stout from yesterday it will make an interesting comparison.  Flavour-wise I prefer this one.  It is beautiful with everything you expect from an imperial stout.  My wife found it too strong with the texture of engine oil and wasn't very keen but my main complaint was it was totally flat.  Very little condition to it.  The Durham beer from yesterday had the right amount of carbonation and body but I wasn't totally enamoured with the bourbon notes.  This beer has no body but decent flavours.  I am still yet to find the perfect imperial stout this Christmas then but I will keep looking.


Sunday, 25 December 2016

12 Beers Of Xmas #6 - Imperious (Durham Brewery)

It's a special beer from Durham Brewery so it must be Christmas Day.  There is no need for debate here.  When it comes to bottled beer Durham Brewery are number one.  They have been brewing these crackers since 1994 and I have loved them for many years.  They are not afraid to go high when it comes to ABV and they are not afraid to try many different beer styles too.  Bedes Chalice (9.0% ABV) is the best Belgian Tripel you will see outside of Belgium, Benedictus (8.4% ABV) is a stunning strong golden ale, Temptation (10.0% ABV) is a stunning Russian Stout and their White Stout (7.2% ABV) is a pale stout beer of a kind that was brewed 200 years ago.  My particular favourite was Redemption, an old ale that also exceeded the 10% ABV mark, but which is sadly no longer available.  And another thing, these lovely beers do not come in those poncey 330ml bottles either.  All in 500ml bottles so you have plenty of beer to enjoy!!    

I have to thank Cotteridge Wines for getting this limited edition special for me.  Imperious is an imperial stout, one which has been oak aged in whisky casks, and it clocks in at a whopping 11.6% ABV.  The detachable label says it has been aged in whisky hogsheads to impart oak and vanilla flavours.  There are actually strong bourbon notes and I am not a whisky lover so it doesn't attain top marks which I always give Temptation, their regular Russian stout.  It does however have great character, plenty of body and a silky smooth texture.  One that was supped slowly and the 750ml bottle lasted me all afternoon.  A really pleasing beer for this special day.


Saturday, 24 December 2016

12 Beers Of Xmas #5 - Christmas Ale (Harveys)

Harveys of Lewes is the oldest independent brewery in Sussex.  The business was started by John Harvey and his name lives on with the John Harvey Tavern pub across from the brewery.  The Harvey family acquired their current site in 1838 at a cost of £3100.  Today there is an eighth generation family member still working at the brewery.  They brew some fabulous dark ales with their winter Old Ale particularly worth finding each year.  It is on the back of my love for this beer and some other bottled delights that have come my way in the past from them that I had to include this bottle of Christmas Ale.  Traditionally my Christmas Eve selection has to have a picture of santa on the label too and it fits the bill there also.  It should be noted further that this beer is a recipient of Finland's Olutseura Olviretki award no less.  This is because it 'excellently' fulfills "The Christmas Beer Regulation of the Seven Brothers" described in Aleksis Kivi's novel 'Seven Brothers'.  So there you go.

Untappd has this down as a barley wine - not my idea of one.  It is very warming and flavours like you would get from a lightly spiced fruit cake but there is a flavour in the aftertaste that doesn't sit right and yet again my wife agrees.  Beer #2, the barley wine from Ballards, was much better for our taste buds.  It does have plenty of character and complexity and it is not overly sweet which is a plus point.  A pleasant enough concoction for Christmas but I wouldn't rush for a second.


Friday, 23 December 2016

12 Beers of Xmas #4 - 2014 Imperial Export Strength Stout (Dark Star)

For my fourth beer I am back in West Sussex.  Dark Star have been a leading light in my home county for many years and they are still expanding today with the opening of two new bars in 2016.  The Anchor Tap in Horsham opened in Spring 2016 and the Lockhart Tavern, Haywards Heath opened last month.  For some reason I forgot all about the Anchor Tap when I was compiling my Golden Pints so this has been amended as this bar is well worth a visit with a full range of Dark Star beers on cask and a tremendous keg selection from the very best breweries around.  They have certainly come a long way from when they began brewing in the cellar of the Evening Star, Brighton in 1994.  

At 10.5% ABV this impy stout has plenty of punch.  It was brewed in 2014 so it has had plenty of time to mature.  Flavour-wise it is nearly spot on.  Slightly on the sweet side although my wife found it too bitter.  I actually prefer even more bitterness but that's just me.  A lack of condition though is what lets it down for me and stops it from reaching the dizzy heights.  Actually I'm concentrating on the negatives far too much here because it is pretty gorgeous but I'm just trying to explain why it falls short of top marks.  Plenty more beers to come though and I'm sure one or two will be total perfection.


12 Beers of Xmas #3 - Imperial Raspberry Stout (Thornbridge)

There is not much to be said about Thornbridge that readers here will not already know.  Thornbridge began brewing within the grounds of Thornbridge Hall, Derbyshire in 2005.  Their success was such they moved into a new state-of-the-art brewery in nearby Bakewell in 2009.  However, the original Hall brewery is still in use too.  Anyway, their beers are fantastic as you probably know but this particular beer is a collaboration with St Eriks Bryggeri, a Swedish craft brewer on the outskirts of Stockholm.  St Eriks seem to be more famous for creating the worlds most expensive crisp than they do for their beer though although the beer I am sure is pretty good.  Anyway, if you want a little bit of Sweden then this is a perfect drink as it is considerably cheaper than the crisps which are £46 for five of them.  That is five crisps, not five boxes.  I am sure they are 'craft' crisps though and worth every penny.  

I have tried cranberries in stout (gorgeous), oats, liquorice, coffee and oysters of course, some with excessive chocolate, vanilla, strawberries and other interesting flavours I've obviously forgotten.  It is rare for me not to enjoy a stout whatever people chuck in it.  This is the first raspberry stout I've had though.  Thornbridge St Petersburg was a 5* beer for me a couple of years ago in my 12 Beers Of Xmas.  This one doesn't achieve those heights for me though.  The raspberry comes through clearly in the aroma.  Not so much in the flavour though but it is sweet and I do prefer much more bitterness in a stout.  My wife loved it and we were both in agreement about the silky smoothness to the mouthfeel.  It drinks nothing like its' 10% ABV strength.  Don't get me wrong though because I do think it is a mighty fine beer.  Just not as good as this fantastic style of beer often attains for me.

This is the first of eight imperial stouts in my 12 Beers of Xmas so it will be interesting to see where it sits alongside the others come the end of this impy-stout-fest.


Thursday, 22 December 2016

12 Beers of Xmas #2 - Pagoda Power (Ballards Brewery)

Ballards Brewery have been around now for many years having produced their first pint in 1980.  It has been operating from the Old Sawmill in the village of Nyewood in the shadow of the South Downs since 1988.  Their beers have had national success culminating in the gold award in the strong Bitter category in CAMRA's Champion Beer of Britain 1999 for Nyewood Gold (5.0% ABV) which is still brewed today.  A fine beer it is too.

Pagoda Power is part of their Bounder series which originated back in 1986 when they brewed an 8.6% ABV beer to celebrate the 900th anniversary of the Domesday Book.  In 1989 they decided to brew another special with the original gravity matching the year and a competition was run to choose a name.  The winner was 'Old Bounder'.  This also saw the start of the annual Ballard's Beer Walk held on the first Sunday in December where they launch the latest in the 'Bounder' series.  The beer labels for this series have all been done by John Cousen, a local graphic designer and cartoonist.  I believe all of these specials have been in the style of a barley wine and Pagoda Power was the beer lanched last year (2015).  I have purchased the 2016 beer (Split) which is being kept for next Christmas although I was fortunate to have a pint of the cask version on the walk earlier this month at the fabulous GBG-listed pub, the Three Horseshoes in neighbouring Elsted, which has the finest pub garden you will find anywhere. 

Yum we both prefer this one to beer #1.  This is a proper barley wine and sadly you don't find enough beers like this any more.  We both enjoyed the Split on cask earlier this month but this has aged well and is much more rounded.  They really must be left at least a year.  Lots of vinous fruit flavours come with the aging process and for that I am truly thankful.  Rich and warming but there is nothing heavy about it.  Slips down really easily and I have never been disappointed by any of these 'bounder' beers.


12 Beers of Xmas #1 - Hanseatic Porter (Little Earth Project)

I picked up this lovely little bottle after it grabbed my attention at Cotteridge Wines.  They tweeted a picture of it, I read Hanseatic porter 10% and quickly tweeted back 'Save me one please'.  Shopping can be really easy at times.  I knew absolutely nothing about the brewery though but a 10% porter is all it takes to grab my attention.  Little Earth Project is an odd little brewery it seems, specialising in historic, farmhouse and sour beers.  They are located in deepest Suffolk and they haven't been brewing long.  They try to use organically farmed ingredients from the local area in many of their beers and the brewery is powered by local wood and the sun.  All very eco-friendly.   

This particular beer is supposed to be a modern interpretation of the type of porter consumed in the Baltic during the 18th and 19th centuries.  I've still got my cold so aroma is a bit non-existent to me.  My wife thought it tasted of dandelion and burdock.  I know what she means but it's got more complexity than that.  There is a sharp sweet tang to it which bites initially before you get the hedgerow fruity notes to coming in.  There is a sweet finish and I also detected the slight woody notes too (it is barrel-aged).  It is hard to believe this is 10%.  Not really the type of porter I prefer but it's a decent enough beer to start my '12 beers'.     

Kal and Jaz at Cotteridge Wines think the Little Earth Project beers are extremely interesting and are trying to push them and on my last two visits they have thrown in a bottle for me to try in addition to this one.  They remain unopened for the time being but I'm sure it won't be long before I get to try them too.  I also like what they are trying to do.


Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Golden Pints 2016

Well what a year 2016 turned out to be.  It was a bit of a mixed bag for me and very little time was found for writing about beer.  There was less drinking at home and more drinking in pubs which is how it should be so I did manage to consume (at least) my usual amount of fine ale so it is time to award my Golden Pints.  Thanks to having the facility to download my Untappd check-ins now I can tell you I have made 897 so far this year and 31 different beers were awarded top marks.  This will (hopefully) help me narrow my choices down and speed up the writing of this post.

It was a year in which I re-discovered Birmingham but this was tinged with sadness following the departure of Chris and Sharon from the Craven Arms.  Birmingham's loss has been York's gain so if you are ever in York then head to the Woolpack. 

As always, each winner is accompanied by a little explanation as well as some close seconds listed where applicable so cue the drum roll ........  

Best UK Cask Beer

Mud City Stout - Sadlers Ales (6.6% ABV)

This is always the most difficult category for me and yet again this proved to be the case.  I had a few pints of Mud City recently at The Bear Freehouse in Stratford-upon-Avon and it was as good as I remembered it to be from when I was first introduced to this beer a few years ago. 

As usual, there were some very close seconds within this category and these were, in no particular order, Autumn Range - Smoked Porter (Cloudwater), Yakima IPA (Great Heck), Pi (XT), Grave Digger's Ale (Church End), Breakfast Stout (Arbor) and Black Oktober (Vibrant Forest).

Best UK Keg Beer

Baby Wheel - Siren Craft (7.1% ABV)

Many more keg beers were consumed this year.  This one was an IPA full of English hops which I thought was really fab when I made my first visit to Brewdog, Brighton.  Marble's Damage Plan was a very close second.  

Best UK Bottled Beer

Imperial Red IPA Special Edition - Vibrant Forest (9.7% ABV)

Plenty of choice in this category as usual.  This particular beer I bought from the brewery quite cheap when I was presenting them with the Yapton Beerex Beer of the Festival 2016.  I just wish I had bought more than the one.  A potent, intoxicating, hoppy monster of a beer.  Durham's Bede's Chalice (9.0% ABV), Siren's Tidal Wave (10.0% ABV) and Irreversible (8.5% ABV) from Twisted Barrel come a very close second.  

Best UK Canned Beer

Imperial Lord Smog Almighty - Beavertown (11.0% ABV)

Not had as many cans this year as I thought I might but that is simply because I have consumed less beer at home and I never make long train journeys.  Beavertown, king of the cans, won this category last year and this year they win it again with this beer which was simply stunning. 

Best Overseas Draught Beer

Christian Bale Ale (4.6% ABV) - Dry & Bitter Brewing Company (Denmark)

No trips abroad this year so very little to choose from in this category.  However, this citrusy session pale that was on tap at the Craven Arms was very pleasing.

Best Overseas Bottled Beer

Mooi & Meedogenloos (Bourbon Barrel-Aged) (11.2% ABV) - Brouwerij de Molen (Holland)

An absolutely amazing beer found at Cotteridge Wines during #BadgeQuest2016.  I need to find this one again as my wife also fell in love with it. 

Best Overseas Canned Beer

Mosiac Black IPA (8.0% ABV) - Mikkeller (Denmark)

Limited choice in this category but this beer was very smooth and just about perfect. 

Best Collaboration Brew

Three's Company - Cloudwater (with Magic Rock & JW Lees) (8.3% ABV)

This was a bottle I had at the Needle & Pin micropub in Loughborough.  A Cloudwater / Magic Rock collab with JW Lees yeast I believe.  A beautiful beer.

Best Overall Beer

Something Something Dark Side (9.2% ABV) by Weird Beard

I am not 100% sure if this was cask or keg (update from the man who knows - I have been reliably informed it was cask) because the Craven Arms did some cracking beers from WB on cask this year.  However, this imperial stout was so good it would probably have won whichever category it fell into so I can make it my best overall beer.

Best Branding


They win once again for the distinctive artwork on their cans.   Magic Rock come a close second.

Best Pumpclip


Still the best for me.  It is always a joy to see a Downlands beer with the distinctive South Downs signpost.  The beers are also first class and this year I have particularly enjoyed their Bramber (4.5% ABV), CAM-RAA 2015 (6.4% ABV) and NZ Red (4.3% ABV).  

Best Label

Durham Brewery

No change in this category either.  A classic design and I know the beer inside the bottle will be an absolute joy.  Thanks to more visits to Cotteridge Wines this year I have enjoyed more of their beer this year and, once again, I have a special one lined up for Christmas Day as part of my '12 Beers of Xmas'.

Best UK Brewery


Fortunately, my first visit of 2016 to the Craven Arms in Birmingham came a few days after a Cloudwater Meet The Brewer event.  This enabled me to try a good selection of their fantastic beers on cask.  Then there is the fabulous DIPA series which are always worth seeking out.  Everything I have tried from them gets a high rating.  Definitely top of the Premier League for me.

Best Overseas Brewery
There is a massive range of their beer available at Cotteridge Wines.  I have never been let down by any of them and often I have been elated (see best overseas foreign beer category).

Best New Brewery Opening 2016

I got to try some beer from Elusive quite soon after they began brewing earlier this year thanks to the Craven Arms in Birmingham and they followed this up with a Meet The Brewer where I got to try a full range of their beer as well as getting to chat with owner / brewer Andy Parker.  Every beer from them is first class.       

Pub/Bar of the Year
This pub is everything you wish for in a micropub.  Great beer, excellent owners and fantastic regulars.  It has been my weekday 'local' since May and is by far and away the best pub in a town dominated by Greene King.  The Brooksteed Alehouse, Worthing and the Craven Arms, Birmingham both come a close second.  The Brooksteed Alehouse would have won if I had not been sent away to work and the Craven Arms would have won if Chris and Sharon had not been forced away.  

Best New Pub/Bar Opening 2016

Anchor Tap, Horsham

The history of this bar goes back to 1898.  After closing it has been a shoe shop and a coffee shop before Dark Star acquired it and re-opened it as a bar.  With six casks (mainly from Dark Star) and ten keg lines featuring the best craft breweries around the UK this is a beer destination in a town that needed some new life for the beer connoisseur.

Beer Festival of the Year

Birmingham Beer Bash

One of only two beer festivals I attended in 2016.  However, excellent beer choices and a great venue for this one made it an easy winner.  Southern Fail ensured I could not get to the GBBF.  Yapton Beerex, my local CAMRA festival, was discounted as I was not attending it as a customer.  However, as I will be organising it in 2017 (May 12th-14th) it will obviously be the best beer festival next year!  

Supermarket of the Year

Marks & Spencer

Not really shopped for much supermarket beer this year but Marks & Spencer continue to have an interesting selection.    

Independent Retailer of the Year

Cotteridge Wines, Birmingham

Winner for the fourth year running and, thanks to now working within a short drive once again, it has become the only place I buy beer from to consume at home.  They also have a great little bar at their shop too now so it has just got better with each visit.  There are other places in Birmingham that I need to check out though.  This is on my 2017 'to do' list.

Online Retailer of the Year


I have bought very little beer online in 2016 but I have been a sporadic subscriber to the monthly offering from Beer52 which always seems to have an interesting beer or two along with an excellent magazine.

Best Beer Book or Magazine

'Ferment' from Beer52

Not really read any beer books this year.  Stephen King takes up all my spare reading time.  However, this winner is the magazine that comes with the box of beer from Beer52.  Always has some excellent articles from the best beer writers around.   

Best Beer Blog or Website


It has been THE toughest year for Jim (aka Beers Manchester) summed up within this particular poignant post.  The most genuine guy you could ever meet.  Other blogs I particularly enjoy reading come from Pub Procrastinator (@Deeekos), Pub Curmudgeon (@oldmudgie) and Rach - Look At Brew (@lookatbrew). 

Best Beer App

Winner for a fourth successive year.  Keeps track of everything I drink.  I'd be lost without it.  I like collecting badges too of course !!

Simon Johnson Award for Best Beer Twitter

I have not been using Twitter a great deal this year.  So difficult finding the time.  However, due to their 'Big Beery Night' and '12 Beers of Xmas' on top of those excellent podcasts etc etc this is an easy award to make.  Steve represents all that is wonderful about the friendly world of beer in the great digiverse.

Best Brewery Website / Social Media

Another local brewery that deserves a big mention for consistently producing excellent beer.  They relaunched their website in 2016 and it comes with a quote from me.  Looking forward to brewing a special beer with them for Yapton Beerex.  

That brings 2016 to a close.  Work has taken up far too much of my travel time but it has meant I have got to know Birmingham a little bit better.  The first few months of 2017 will be taken up with organising a beer festival (yes yet another plug !!!) so if you can make it down to my little corner of West Sussex in May I'd be really pleased to see you.     

Happy Christmas and New Year to you all.

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Twelve Beers of Xmas 2016

Here we go again.  The 12 Beers of Xmas is now in its 4th year and it is a chance for beer lovers everywhere to choose a dozen beers for Christmas and drink one each day beginning on December 20th and thereby ending on New Years Eve.  For me, the Christmas period is a time for indulging in some of my favourite beer styles.  Imperial stouts, imperial IPAs and barley wines are particularly sought after for my list and that usually means ABVs in excess of 10% too.  This year I have really indulged with six imperial stouts.

If the 12 Beers of Xmas is all new to you then it really is easy to take part.  Buy a dozen beers and drink them is all there is to it.  Add your comments on the Beer O'Clock Show website and/or follow it on Twitter with the hashtag #12BeersofXmas.  If you are a blogger then you can also write a review of each beer too so we can all imagine the finer points of the beers you are enjoying.  

My selections have been made but there may be one or two late substitutions as I am planning on a visit this week to the Birmingham beer mecca, Cotteridge Wines.  Last year I found some absolutely cracking beers from all over the world.  This year I am staying closer to home with only two beers from abroad (and these are the two that might be substituted) as well as three beers from my home county of Sussex but I don't think I will see any reduction in quality.  I certainly hope not.  Due to working away I won't be opening my first beer until Thursday December 22nd.  The second beer will also be opened on this day and beers three and four will be opened on December 23rd by which time I will have caught up with everyone.  That's the plan.  So with no further ado here is my lineup for this year (as it currently stands).

Thursday December 22nd

Hanseatic Porter - Little Earth Project (10.0% ABV)
Pagoda Power - Ballards Brewery (8.5% ABV)

Friday December 23rd

Imperial Raspberry Stout - Thornbridge / St Eriks Bryggeri (10.0% ABV)
2014 Imperial Export Strength Stout - Dark Star (10.5% ABV)

Christmas Eve

Christmas Ale - Harveys (7.5% ABV)

Christmas Day

Imperious Oak Aged Imperial Stout - Durham Brewery (11.6% ABV)

Boxing Day

Oak Aged Silverback - Blue Monkey (13.0% ABV)

Tuesday December 27th

Odyssey 006 - Siren Craft (10.5% ABV)

Wednesday December 28th

Imperial India Pale Ale (#500) - Nogne O (10.0% ABV)

Thursday December 29th

Sadako Imperial Stout - Weird Beard (9.5% ABV)

Friday December 30th

Berlin Passionfruit Berliner Weisse - Oersoep Microbrewery (3.5% ABV)

New Year's Eve

Imperial Stout - Cloudwater (11.2% ABV)