Twelfth beer of Christmas 

On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love sent to me hops from yakima Valley 

Yakima gold by crouch Vale brewery from Essex is the type of beer that got me into real ale blonde and hoppy straightforward and easy drinking,  what sets this example (a finalist in Camra real ale in a bottle 2016) is the abundance of amarillo hops grown in the yakima Valley that lends it’s name to the beer. It has a amazing depth of flavour for a single hop beer really showcasing my favourite hop it has a earthyness at first and a great fruity aftertaste. 

Unfortunately the demand for this humble hop is far more than the supply so it may become very hard to find amarillo in such a simple unfussy and clean beer in the future,  we are already seeing the popularity of them give way to new Zealand’s fruity hop varietys however the UK has a great cross polenation project trying to make these big flavoured hops from yakima Valley happy to grow in the tyne Valley (try jester ipa from Marks and Spencer for a example of UK grown American tasting hops that didn’t exist a year ago). 

Overall a very drinkable straight ahead golden ale showcasing a slowly disappearing hop that’s worth celebrating  

Bottles available from beer hawk 


Eleventh beer of Christmas 

On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love sent to me ale brewed organically

Samuel Smith brewery in Tadcaster seems to be a bit of a hidden gem to the younger generation the sibling of the John Smith brewery bloodline who left to do his own thing. 

All the beers they brew are certified organic and the chocolate stout has to be tried to be believed the Christmas ale is itself a throw back to a time when instead of adding spices to beers abd slapping a rudolph pump clip on it would take a regular brew and pump it up to a higher abv to see the regulars through the season. 

Winter welcome ale tastes like a very fine real ale but with boulder kick at 6.0% bottle conditioned and brewed with hole dried fuggles and goldings hops the taste is that of a great flavoursome and rounded blonde beer 

You can pick up a bottle at glug in the grainger market 

Tenth beer of Christmas 

On the tenth day of Christmas my true love sent to me a beer and charcuterie 

Box social brewery have opened up a tap room in the former split chimp a former railway arch behind the train station boasting 4 cask and 10 keg lines it offers great choice at very reasonable prices on the night in question the selection included very fresh ipas Belgian beers Italian imports and some great local delights along side a board of meats and cheeses from Northumberland the star of the show was campfire porter brewed by box social themselves containing coffee from Pumphreys in the grainger market offset by a toasted marshmalow flavour it’s a sweet and powerful porter that is one of my favourite beers of the year well worth visiting for the beer the bar and the friendly staff 

Ninth beer of Christmas 

On the ninth day of Christmas my true love sent to me a can from Vocation brewery 

Life and death ipa 6.5% is one of those go to beers that always full of flavour and does as ronseal once pitched exactly what it says on the tin 

Across the can is written in various points smooth malty backbone rich golden colour tropical aroma and fruit salad taste and it’s really just reviewed itself as I can’t really argue any of it. 

A more than adequate fruity ipa may be underselling it,  there may be more exciting fruity ipas with way more hype but this however few of them deliver consistently like this one. 

And the topper is that cans are available at major supermarkets including tesco for under two pounds 

Eighth beer of Christmas 

On the eight day of Christmas my true love sent to me a real ale from marksys 

Marks and Spencer have been working with some of Britain’s best brewerys for a while now creating a great range of exclusive beers. 

The Christmas offering produced by Adnams Southwold for them with all British hops,  the colour is rich chestnut there isn’t much scent to it but a beautiful deep fruity malt flavour with near perfect bottle conditioning 

Well with a look at little over £2 for 500ml at Marks and Spencer 

Seventh beer of Christmas 

On the seventh day of Christmas my true love sent to me a speach on sustainability 

I was invited to stu brews end of project dissertation on sustainability in brewing looking at waste yeast and grains as well as cleaning temperature and brewing energy conservation that if all goes well could see Newcastle become a very important city with regards to the future of brewing. 

It may soon become a article I publish either on the blog or in camras publication. 

But I also got the opportunity to have a few beers including errants winter harvest saison with a warming ginger and mixed spice and delicate flavour that dosnt taste like somebody spilled a spice rack into a pint very balanced hazy beer well worth a look,  and a couple of cranberry Christmas beers tis the season and all that. 

Box social sleighbells cranberry ipa is a big bold beer with a sweet and sour ballance that’s really tart abd sweet but very drinkable 

And the second pictured above was stu brews weat wanderer cranberry adapted from the raspberry version at the Newcastle real ale festival this was a more subtle rounded beer with bittersweet cranberies offering the spice found in the wheat beer. 

All three of these beers can be found in bars throughout Newcastle 

Sixth beer of Christmas 

On the sixth day of Christmas my true love sent to me a can in a christmas tree

Snake dog ipa by flying dog brewery comes in at 7.1% and has a art style of the late gonzo legend hunter s Thompson complete with snake dog verse. 

A bitter sharp wall of hops hits you on first sip followed by a resinous lingering cluster of hops considering the abv it comes with a light mouthfeel and little aroma 

It is a good example of a hop foward American ipa and at under £2 a can it certainly gives most beers in its Price range a run for its money well worth a try buy only for hop heads 

Available in larger tesco and Morrisons stores