The tradition of Christmas beers in England is fairly new, compared to the long history of beer making that is associated with the English ale.
It probably first glanced via it’s Scandinavian origins, when some of us went travelling there around the Yule holidays . The typical brew for around this time would be malty, mild in terms of hoppy taste and with lots of spices. Brewers would use cinnamon, orange, cloves and other slightly aromatic spices, alongside a distinctive technique of either an amber malty beer or even a fully roasted (dark) one. The Belgians had a good say in this latter style, particularly around the time Europe was preparing for a second World War. Not too late after the war there was also the famous Samichlaus who would add an extra element to it’s Christmas beer making style, aging. Their beer would be brewed methodically on the first week of December and barrel aged for a full year before next Christmas’s release. A ritual that they still stick by today, even with their relocation into Austria.
On the contemporary front, brewers have been adding more and more fruit, plums, cranberries, anything that can be slightly related to Christmas. Even wine made it into it, particularly port, as this not only reminds everyone of Christmas but gives the beer, no matter how dark, a beautiful fruity fresh feel.
We currently stock a wide selection of Christmas beers, including locally produced, from all around the UK and some offshore offerings from sunny California to the classic Belgians. We even have some German! to rival the mentioned Samichlaus. All the different styles are covered, from the malty and crunchy style that the vikings passed into law to the dark, haunting, barrel aged versions from Europe and now UK.
Come in and have a chat with us about them, grab some and enjoy the festivities!