Friday, 12 December 2014

Advent Calendar - 12th December 2014

Beer Advent Calendar
Fourpure Brewing Co. - Session IPA 4.2%
12th December 2014

It's Christmas Jumper Day!

I'm sure you all wore your Christmas jumpers today, and whilst you may not have looked particularly stylish (or maybe you did), at least you were warm. Another great way to keep warm, as you will already know and may well have done today, is with a glass of Winter Warmer in your hand.

The very name Winter Warmer conjures up in my mind images of olde coaching inns, a roaring fire and a dark frothy beer in a pewter tankard. Perhaps there's someone snoozing gently in the corner, their breath soft but noticeable above the murmur of conversation coming from the nearby tables. Suddenly the door opens and a couple bustle in, snow falling from the shoulders of their coats and hats as they make they way to the bar and order a couple of pints from the beaming landlord. It's a scene that gives me a sense of comfort and joy, particularly apt at this time of year.

Winter Warmer as a beer style is traditionally a malty-sweet Strong Ale, dark although not pitch black, and it may have a hint of spiciness. It is a variation of the Old Ale, fruity and sweet, often a blend of mild ale and a stock ale made slightly tart with a secondary fermentation of brettanomyces. Warm with alcohol, hence it's name, but with a low level of hop bitterness but a good hop character, Harveys Christmas Ale, Shepherd Neame Christmas Ale (particularly from the bottle) and Odell Isolation Ale are all good and accessible examples of this style.

No Christmas-time is complete for me without spending some time in the company of good friends with a glass of a Winter Warmer in my hands, relaxing, talking and laughing. It's something I should be doing around this time tomorrow when I'm on the Beer O'Clock Show Crimbo Crawl. It would be great if you could join us, I'd love to see you, so why don't you come along?

I hope that's put you in a mellow festive mood, it certainly has me, so whilst I fetch the beer for today from my Ales By Mail Advent Calendar, here are the answers to yesterdays quiz questions.

1. A breed of draught horse (standing 15.2 - 16.2 hands high if you're interested)

2. Old Tom

3. Fuller, Smith and Turner's Brewery

4. The American Declaration of Independence

5. Beamish and Crawford

And we have a winner again as Andy Parker came back to me with the answers almost as soon as I'd posted my blog. Top marks matey!

So, onto tonights beer.

I featured the FourPure Brewing Company when I reviewed their Oatmeal Stout back in April this year. If you'd like to know a bit about them and what I thought of that then click the link I provided in the previous sentence, however for the purposes of this blog I'm going to move straight on to todays beer, and it's in a can.

Pouring a cloudy orange yellow and throwing a big white head the aroma coming from this beer is big, juicy and citrussy, full of wet pine, tangerine, pineapple and grated orange and lime zest, and it makes my nostrils buzz with excitement and my mouth water with anticipation. Sharp and prickly carbonation picks at the tongue releasing peach juice and orange pith flavours carried along on a wave of lemon edged tangerine and the merest pinch of white pepper. This dries quickly in the finish after a final flourish on the tip of the tongue, leaving a desolate palate devoid of everything except the ghost of lime zest past and the tiniest hint of crushed coriander seed. Such is it's ability to suck the moisture from you taste buds it immediately sends you back into the glass to experience it all over again. This is an astonishingly good beer for such a low abv and the fact that it comes in a light, portable can means you can take a flavour bomb with you wherever you go, and as it's cold enough outside at the moment then you won't even have to chill it. I've never been less that delighted by a FourPure beer, and even I've still not taken up their invitation to visit them that they extended to me back in April, I plan to do so early in the New Year. I can't wait to see what they get up to in 2015.

So as I put the can in the recycling and get today's joke ready I'll leave you with the now customary five quiz questions. Here goes:

1. The Felinfoel Brewing Company of Wales, brewers of Double Dragon, were the first brewery outside of the USA to introduce beer in a can, but what was the year?

2. Which three beers dominated the Irish beer market in the 1970s and were often referred to as 'The Holy Trinity'?

3. What is the trademark of the John Smith's Brewery?

4. Which brewery sponsors the Welsh Rugby team?

5. Eldridge Pope produced the last of it's Thomas Hardy's Vintage Ale in 1999, but which brewery in Devon brewed it from 2003 to 2008?

Bit of a mix there I think, so the very best of luck.

I'm not going to lie to you, today's joke is one that you may well guess the answer to if you think about it, however it is better than yesterday's.

Here goes:

Why did the orange take a prune to the Christmas party?

Because it couldn't find a date!

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