Since I introduced iDJ to the concept of Christmas ale/beer, he has embraced it wholeheartedly. He bought us two boxes of imported beer, plus whatever we find at Aldi or Lidl or Tesco.
Shall I do most to least favourite, or vice-versa? Oh, I think worst to best, as I’m probably funnier when complaining than when I’m happy.
Rogue Yellow Snow IPA, 6.5%. Oregon, USA. It’s meant to be bitter and it sure is. This I could not drink at all. Every sip left me making a horrible noise at the aftertaste. It felt like I was drinking poison. I’m sorry we have two more of these to drink, because I’m not touching it.
Sierra Nevada Celebration, 6.8%. California, USA. I drank it, but again it was awfully bitter and didn’t taste of much else: not very Christmassy at all. I think it is safe to say that as a general rule, I do not like IPA.
Middling: From here on it gets tough, as I’d have all of these again!
Bateman’s Rosey Nosey, 4.7%. From Lincolnshire, England, UK. Very easy to drink, and as we found it in Aldi, we have had more of this than any of the others so far. Not very much like a Holiday ale, but still a nice find, so try it if you can.
Brewdog’s Santa Paws, 4.5%. Aberdeenshire, Scotland, UK. Tasty, but not a holiday ale. Will never be made again, and I hope their next effort is better.
Wychwood’s Bah Humbug, 5%. Oxfordshire, England, UK. Found in Aldi, yay! Very warming on fist taste, despite the relatively low alcohol content. They did a good job on the spices. They are famous for their Hobgoblin beer, which is probably also found in the USA. Maybe.
Sierra Nevada Snow Wit IPA, 5.7%. This is a Belgian-style IPA, and as such an odd combination I loved it. Like drinking a Mandarin orange. Fabulous.
Best: The last three are a tie, I think…
Anderson Valley Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale, 6.9%, again from California (seeing a trend here?). Had this last year but it is still just lovely. The smell of milk chocolate very time you take a sip is just wonderful.
Anchor Brewing’s 2014 Christmas ale, California, USA. They have been doing this for 40 years and certainly excel at it. Very very sad the label is torn, as we are saving any labels we can to make tree ornaments. They change the tree species every year, so it is doubly sad to have it be torn on import to us in Ireland. Always always drink this on the holidays if you can.
Eight Degrees’ Belgian Dubbel, 7.2%, and from Cork, Ireland! We were surprised how much we like this beer, and it seems to be our favourite. They say ‘Christmas pudding in a glass’ and they aren’t wrong. So tasty and very very much the spirit of the season in a glass. Very well done – especially considering the decades of experience other breweries have had – keep it up, lads!