Thursday, 4 December 2014
Advent Calendar - 4th December 2014
Beer Advent Calendar
Hardknott - Figgy Pudding 7.0%
4th December 2014
Three weeks to go!
Just think, three weeks today, right around this time, you'll probably have unwrapped all your presents, finished the washing up, know who's been killed off in this years EastEnders cliff hanger, and, despite consuming enough food to fill a three yard skip you'll still be wondering if you can squeeze in another mince pie. After all, it is Christmas!
I'm assuming that, as you're reading this blog, that you may well have a glass of beer in your hand, and I expect it will be a special one. Will it be a big IPA packing a hoppy punch, scouring the palate, seeking out and cutting through the fattiness of the food you've been eating, enhancing a salty snack or maybe highlighting the caramel side of a milk chocolate dessert? Or maybe like me you'll be having a stout, rich luxurious and creamy, a dessert in itself, barrel aged or not, it's a really good stout that helps me unwind. It's a drink to sip, to contemplate, and let all the stresses of the day and the preceding weeks melt away. And then you remember that you've got to do it all over again tomorrow!
Nonetheless, whatever you have in your glass on Christmas night, I hope it's a cracker.
Before I get to open the window of my Ales By Mail Advent Calendar I'd better give you the answers to yesterdays quiz questions. They are:
1. 6th December
2. Alcohol By Volume
3. Abbey of Saint Sixtus (Westvleteren is the name of the brewery, and that beer is of course the fabled Westvleteren 12)
4. Rye (Roggen is German for rye)
They were a bit easier I thought, I hope you got them all.
Moving on to the beer of the day, Figgy Pudding from West Cumbrian brewers Hardknott is brewed, unsurprisingly with figs, as well as being infused with ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg. I'd recommend taking a look at their website as there's a lot of information about their beer, much of it in video form. If you have a bottle of this beer, actually even if you haven't, click this link to take you to a video of ... well you'll just have to click on the link to find out, but it's guaranteed to make you feel festive and thirsty courtesy of the Hardknott team.
Feeling good now? Excellent! Time to open that bottle.
Pouring a thin dark brown with little carbonation and consequently very little head the initial aroma gives you a head full of Christmas spice, predominantly cinnamon, but there's also room for the ginger and nutmeg as well as twist of liquorice wood coming through. Crashing over the tongue with a touch of bitterness is an enormous rush of fig, black treacle and liquorice lightly interwoven with the cinnamon, nutmeg and a good crack of black pepper. I was worried that the spice would overwhelm this beer but it compliments the dark fruitiness rather well, taking it into a slightly sticky fig-like finish, with the warmth of the ginger adding a welcome touch of heat right at the end and this rounds out the beer very nicely indeed. This doesn't taste its seven per cent at all, and if you can get past the heavily spiced aroma you'll be rewarded with a very good beer, I only wish it had more of a presence in the mouth. I'd like a beer with these flavours to be a bit more chewy, but having said that I'd certainly buy another bottle. If you like a spicy Christmas beer then you won't be disappointed and as this is Hardknott's first ever Christmas beer, new for this year, you might want to be there at the beginning of a regular event. You never know, they may not brew it again.
So, while I finish off this beer I'll give you your five questions for today. Best of luck!
1. What do you call a Lambic to which macerated cherries have been added, resulting in a fruity taste and often a burgundy colour?
2. What is the name of the fining agent used to clarify beer which consists of a semi-transparent substance obtained from the swim bladders of fish?
3. In 2004 a Lithuanian brewery was awarded two Gold Medals at the World Beer Cup. The brewery was established in 1902 by the German brewer Albertas Foigtas and was originally called Bergsclosschen. What is this brewery now called?
4. Name the Danish dark lager brand which shares its name with the Roman goddess of farming.
5. What year did Evin O'Riordan set up the Kernel Brewery, and what was its original location?
Best of luck with those!
So here's today's joke, and go on, I want a show of hands to let me know who jumped to this bit first? I'm rather delighted by the response to this part of blog and I hope you like this one.
How does Good King Wenceslas like his pizzas?
Deep pan. crisp and even.