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Christmas Time

30 Dec

Just a quick update to let you know the blog hasn’t died yet, this time on my Christmas beer drinking, of which there has been far too much. To start off with, when I got home from university, my dad had a batch of “Yuletide Ale” ready to drink, brewed to a recipe in Brewing Better Beers, by Ken Shales. It’s about 7-8% and it’s very nice, though a bit hit and miss with the bottles due to the haphazardness of priming by hand with just a tablespoon.

Quite a dark beer, it smells of booze and sweet malts. It tastes deceptively weak though, and I easily quaffed a pint in a matter of minutes. You’ve got subtle and well balanced caramel malty flavours, fruity with a hint of spice hop flavours, and a kick on the finish from the yeast. Great stuff.

Yuletide Ale

Over the fortnight at home I also drank my way through most of the beers from Bavarian brewers Ayinger. The highlights were the famous Celebrator doppelbock, and the kellerbier. Both dark and rich beers, great for warming cold winter nights, as were the Winterbock and Weizenbock, weighing in at 6.7 and 7.1 per cent abv respectively. I’ll be looking at the beers more in the next post, but overall it was a great range of beers, all good, some great and none bad.

I also had time after Christmas to do some beer trading, with a friend of mine from Beeradvocate. This is where the generosity of beer lovers shines through, and I received some hard to get beers, (including Westvleteren!), in exchange for some local Welsh beers, some Ayingers and a Belgian sour. The trader even threw in a couple of extras to sweeten the deal, leaving me a very happy drinker. The other highlight of the trade was meeting in a fancy London pub, miles better than anything Wales has to offer (that I’ve seen at least, feel free to correct me!) The Cask Pub and Kitchen, in Pimlico, had an out of this world selection of beer on offer. Belgian, Danish, Welsh and US beer on tap (keg); English ales on cask; and hundreds of bottles from all over the world. I tried Boon Kriek on tap, a sour cherry flavoured lambic, which was very nice, lip-smackingly fruity though, sweet, sour, tart. From cask I drank a pint of Thornbridge Lumford, a “new world pale ale”, which I’m guessing means it’s made with hops from New Zealand – likely as the hops were less fruity and more citrus and flowery flavoured than British hops. This was followed by a half-pint of Thornbridge Beadeca’s Well, a smoked porter, with a lovely deep, burnt and smoked malt taste. Very nice.

Cask Bottles
Here’s about a third of the bottles available in the Cask. Not cheap but some hard to find gems here.
Lumford Pale Ale
My pint of Thornbridge Lumford – went down a treat.
Empties
The aftermath, they never stood a chance…

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