I am a father of a young child and a lover of decadent food so there is so much of Christmas i love but for every glazed gammon we get a overcooked turkey , for every fairytale in New York the radio plays is followed by something from x factor with added sleigh bells and for every its a wonderful life at the Tyneside cinema Christmas 24 will show a rodeo and Juliet Christmas and yes that is indeed a real thing.
Christmas beers it seems have not escaped this trend for every amazing beer released annually you get 10 bland ruby ales attacked with cinnamon and given fun festive names and this is the story of my run up to the big day.
I was in attendance at the Cluny Christmas beer festival (not the best place for a spiced beer avoider to be i grant you) boasting 30 beers 20 ciders food and bands with a glass to take home for £3 entry.
The Cluny in Newcastles Ouseburn area is a venue close to my heart host to many gigs of my youth and server of good beer too.
There was a few stand out drinks to mention the cider range was varied and boasted some quality drinks , Wylam’s Jakehead embryo was one a first time try of the original recipe of one of my true favourites minus the late hop additions you still get a rounded and strong tasting beer, Dark star’s revelation ipa certainly lived up to its billing as a hop forward full of flavour pint , Out there continued to live upto the name with awakening star a beer that perfectly captures the yeasty smell of rising bread why you would want to may be up for debate but it was certainly a interesting taste.
And then came the pun laden spice filled beers Camerons festive frolics Fell spiced raisin Consett Santa’s little smelter Ossett nervous turkey all blended into one taste of too much spice and no enough body to carry such flavours.
The final part of my boozy build to santas deliveries was the Camra merry meander a little get together for members taking in lady greys , the Bacchus and Fitzgeralds three great ale bars around Newcastles Grey street always good to catch up with old friends and new and with a mission to avoid all ales with pump clips festooned with red and green i did find at last my perfect winter ale from the Brasserie d’achouffle brewery in the holy land of Belgium comes n’ice chouffe a strong Belgian styled winter ale sweet and crisp as winter snow at first sip giving way to a syrupy boozy rum like finish it was a winter warmer done right.
Also credit to Vedett extra ordinary ipa that packs in a lot of flavour but balances it beautifully even the most hardened of porter lovers was won over.
And so my conclusion is as it was starting out on this decadent December , when it comes to spices in your beers a little of a good thing is as good as a feast but too much is worse than non at all and with the dry turkey fast approaching are they not words to live by?
And if your still not convinced remember stella artois started out as a christmas time beer !
north by north yeast
Beer of the month December
Lentehop – Brouwerij design moren
Belgian farmhouse styled ipa