Beer Advent Calendar
Wold Top Brewery - Wold Top Bitter 3.7%
19th December 2014
And so we've made it to Black Friday.
The last Friday before Christmas is traditionally the busiest party night of the year as thousands of people who have been working hard all year start their two week Christmas break. Teachers have released their classroom charges back to their own families for the holidays, factories close down for their winter slumber and their workers spill out into towns and cities to join insurance brokers, lawyers, secretaries, and other office workers who are ready to let their hair down for the first time since their summer holidays. They'll be no work on Monday so they have two whole weeks to hope that their colleagues (and bosses) forget how disgracefully they behaved.
For many of us though, myself included, it will be business as usual on Monday and for most of the next fortnight, but despite this there's one rule that I always stick too, one exception that I make every year. I never go to the pub after two o'clock in the afternoon on Black Friday.
Black Friday evening isn't for me, and I'm not being snobbish, aloof or condescending by writing that, it just isn't my night.
I know I'm old and even old-fashioned but when I go out for a drink I want to enjoy it. The beer, the company and the surroundings all have to be conducive to me having a great evening, and on Black Friday they just aren't I'm afraid.
I popped into my local J D Wetherspoon, the Blue Boar in Billericay, for a quick pint at lunchtime today at around ten to one this afternoon and it was surprisingly quiet. I took my beer, which if you've seen my Untappd check in or twitter post you'll know that I didn't enjoy it much, took a seat near the bar and watched and waited. At two minutes to one it started, a trickle at first, and then suddenly it was a flood and soon, a mere ten minutes after I had walked straight up to the empty bar it was six deep, with loud voices and even louder Christmas jumpers filling the space. I forced my pint of 'twiggy wood varnish' down my throat and left them to it.
I don't want to use the phrase 'amateur drinkers', I prefer to call them 'occasional pub users' and they are very welcome to it as I'm not a killjoy by any means, and if you are one of them I sincerely hope you have a wonderful evening I really do, it's just that I won't be there to enjoy it with you.
You might be thinking that this is a quite a negative post and not in keeping with spirit of the season but I assure you it isn't. Everyone deserves to have a great time at Christmas, it's my favourite time of the year but also one that I work hardest, and work hard and play hard has always been my motto, but this evening I will be drinking at home. Well, I have got work tomorrow.
Before I move on to today's beer, I need to give you the answers to yesterdays quiz questions. They are:
3. Santa Paws and Hoppy Christmas
4. San Francisco
I had two sets of correct answers today, and quite a few good guesses to some of them, but today's winner, just pipping super quizzer Andy Parker to the post by a matter of minutes today was Richard Hargreaves, better know on twitter as the Adlington Beer Circle. He has supported this calendar blog from day one and his website is well worth a look if you like combining a good walk with a decent pint.
And so it's time for today's beer.
I have a good feeling about the Wold Top Brewery, and part of it has to do with the fact that this picture of their tasty Shepherd's Watch won me a six bottles of fantastic Carlsberg (yes you read that correctly) beer last Christmas:
Based in Wold Newton near Driffield in the East Riding of Yorkshire, Wold Top Bitter is their flagship beer and also their best seller. I'm looking forward to getting that bottle open.
It pours a mid amber / bronze colour with a thin white head and a soft malty aroma with hints of mango, honey, candied nuts and bread pudding. Light but with a decent level of carbonation that fizzes around the edge of the tongue, there isn't a great deal of flavour here initially I'm sorry to say, it's quite thin and watery, but it is clean tasting and with it's raisin and honey notes it starts to taste considerably darker and fuller as it goes down the glass, and I'm picking up a little of that bread pudding maltiness too. The finish is bitter, dry and crisp, light but with definite echoes of chocolate malt and crushed almonds, and it lasts a long long time. It has to be said that this is a very easy drinking beer as it doesn't challenge the palate at all, but there is a bit more too it than I first thought. I can see why this is there best selling beer too as it has everything that you would want from a session bitter, tasty with a long lasting flavour that builds as you drink it, and a clean crisp finish that I could certainly see myself having a few of if I was out for the evening. It's not bad at all.
Well that was considerably better than I first anticipated, so whilst I go and find where the number 20 is on my Ales By Male Advent Calendar is ready for tomorrow, here are today's quiz questions:
1. What is the name of the Christmas beer style that is a Bavarian speciality?
2. Similarly, what do the French call their strong beers that are brewed in October ready for December consumption?
3. What is name of the Brasserie Dupont beer, a Christmas treat, that was originally brewed and offered to their most loyal customers?
4. Which seasonal drinking salute, meaning "be you healthy" in Old English, can also refer to a hot mulled punch served at Yuletide/
5. Which Christmas beer from Norwegian brewers Nogne O and brewed with Chinook, Columbus and Centennial hops, is one of the highest rated Winter Warmers according to various beer reviewing sites?
I think they're a bit tougher today, perhaps prompting you to do a little research and that's something that I positively encourage as you'll never know what you'll discover. But before you go off to do that I'll leave you with the Christmas cracker joke.
Yesterday's one met with universal disapproval, down on the previous day (according to my Beer O'Clock Show rating) so that shows that I'm doing something right at least!
So without further ado, here is today's gem.
Hold on to your sides people!
Why did the Christmas doughnut seller retire?
He was fed up with the hole business!