View Full Version : The Pub Curmudgeon - ‘Tis the season to be unimaginative

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08-12-2015, 12:43
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The run-up to Christmas invariably sees brewers bringing out a rash of special seasonal beers. Most of these seem to follow a common blueprint:

The name must be a bad pun on “Elf”, “Sleigh”, “Santa”, “Rudolph” etc.
Names relating to “Santa’s Sack” or “Jingle Balls” are best avoided unless you want to fall foul of Pumpclip Parade (http://pumpclipparade.co.uk/)
The beer should be a touch darker than a normal bitter, but definitely not opaque
The strength should be in a range from 4.0% to 4.3% as drinkers must not be encouraged to over-indulgeAny hop character should be dialled down to a minimum, although a tiny hint of cinnamon or nutmeg may be allowed

The result is a selection of distinctly samey and underwhelming beers, and it’s even worse when you go into a pub and find that, to enter into the Christmas spirit, they have four of them on the bar and nothing else.
Praise must go to Shepherd Neame for their splendid – and pun-free – Christmas Ale (http://www.shepherdneame.co.uk/brands/ales/christmas-ale), which, at 7.0% ABV, doesn’t pussyfoot around, especially given that it comes in a 500ml bottle. (The cask version, as so often, is a rather more humdrum 5.0%)
I’ve also got a bottle of BrewDog Santa Paws (https://www.brewdog.com/item/498/BrewDog/Santa-Paws.html) “Christmas Scotch Ale” to sample over the festive period, which sounds intriguing, although as usual only a 330ml.

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