By Helen Wilson | Editor
There’s nothing quite like entering into a deliciously warm, cosy retreat after braving the bitter cold of these (now truly) Winter evenings. After the intricate ceremony of removing a few of those extra layers, rubbing cold, reddened ears and noses, the only thing left to do is crack open one of those dark, roasted brews and feel the cold slip away with the first few sips. We have a sampling of some delicious Winter treats in store for you, whether it’s for yourself or Santa’s booze stash 😉
Wye Valley Brewery – Hollybob (Festive Ale, 4.4%)
Nestled in the heart of Herefordshire, these guys have a great ethos of buying local and are lucky to get most of their ingredients within just 10 miles. Wye Valley Brewery give a good range of beers, including a variety of specialty and seasonal brews released every month. Hollybob has been made especially to help you enjoy the festive holidays!
Appearance: Golden brown pour, with a light, frothy head and decent carbonation.
Aroma: Savoury biscuits and caramel, followed by a mellow herbal twist.
Flavour: A warming, nutty taste. Smooth light toffee malt, enhanced by a kick of resinous hops that carries a slight bitterness.
A very well-executed brew, preferably drunk straight after a hard days work.
You’ll definitely want to try some here!
Little Valley Brewery – Dark Vale (Vanilla Porter, 4.5%)
Up in the Pennine Moorland, Little Valley are no strangers to cold weather, but their story started a little differently by a chance meeting in Nepal just a few days before Christmas, no less. Since then, owners Wim and Sue have put in the hard yards to create diverse beers full of character and passion. Dark Vale is certified organic and is bottle-conditioned.
Appearance: Blackened cinnamon tinge, with a smooth tan head that slowly melts away to leave a slight lacing.
Aroma: Dark Chocolate straight off the nose. Vanilla cream, raisins and coconut meld together nicely.
Flavour: Toasted rough oats, smoothed out with vanilla almost straight from the pods. A tart tanin-like character makes this balanced Porter not overly sweet, and there’s a dry, roasted finish.
A tasty, not overly heavy beverage that’s perfect for the long, dark evenings.
Make sure you don’t miss out here!
Purple Moose Brewery – Chocolate Moose (Chocolate & Vanilla Stout, 4.5%)
We were more than happy to take a look at Purple Moose’s Antlered IPA back in October; this time, the brewery from North Wales have brought us their seasonal must-try.
Appearance: A coffee brown brew, with a head that bubbles away quickly.
Aroma: A huge hit of smooth milk chocolate, alongside vanilla ice cream and coffee liqueur. Seriously smells like melt-in-the-mouth chocolate truffles.
Flavour: Creamy but lighter-bodied mouthfeel, followed through with a mellow bitterness. Definitely a dessert beer, tastes like profiteroles, with marshmallows and a tangy dried fruit aftertaste.
An end of the evening brew that’s great for sipping next to the fire.
You won’t regret giving this a try here!
Gorgeous Brewery – Gravedigger (Vanilla Milk Stout, 5.0%)
Independent family-owned and run, Gorgeous Brewery works with little automation, so a whole lot of care and hard work goes into everything they brew. Gravedigger is their seasonal Vanilla Milk Stout, back for its’ second winter.
Appearance: Deep chocolate brown with a lingering lighter head that gently laces the glass.
Aroma: Rich nose of vanilla Creme Brûlée and chocolate-coated peanuts.
Flavour: A delicious combination of sweet breakfast muesli oats, creamy milk, dried banana and dark chocolate bitterness.
A flavourful and smooth brew that won’t fail to improve your evening.
Marston’s Brewery – Owd Rodger (Strong Ale, 7.4%)
Owd Roger is brewed to a recipe believed to be at least 500 years old and is based on the old English ale traditions that made Marston’s hometown of Burton famous for its’ particular style. An award-winning ale, Owd Roger won’t let you down.
Appearance: A glistening dark ruby hue, with a lively, thick brown head.
Aroma: Sweet notes of Turkish delight, banana confectionery and chocolate caramel.
Flavour: Rich toffee and burnt caramel, lightened with vanilla, cherry and a touch of orange zest. The alcohol percentage may be slightly higher but the hearty flavours more than match it, giving it a warming and smooth profile.
A complex pick ‘n’ mix of flavours, definitely one to indulge that sweet tooth and perfect for a night cap.
Get it while the getting’s good here!
We know the Winter cold may be painful, but we’ve just given you five ways to make it just a little bit better in the run up to Christmas. So remember to stay warm and drink beer, folks!