Wednesday, 30 December 2015
#12EssexBeersofChristmas The Sixth Day
The Twelve Essex Beers of Christmas
The sixth day of Christmas, geese a-laying and all that, marks the half-way point in this collection of Essex festive fun. It's also the penultimate day of year, and what a year it's been for beer. Better beer available in more places across the country as a whole and even Essex hasn't escaped this trend. We now have seven micro-pubs in Chelmsford, Billericay, Colchester, two in Maldon, Southend and Upminster, with more planned as well as brewery tap rooms in which to taste and take away some good local beer. There have been two new brewery openings as well, in the shape of Moody Goose and Watts and Co. bringing our total to thirty one. Who knows what 2016 will bring?
To this end I have prepared a peculiarly Essex Golden Pints Awards that I'll publish tomorrow. It's just for fun, there are now actual awards however it does highlight who I feel deserves acclaim for brewing or doing something particularly good in Essex beer this year.
Tonight's beer is the first of a trio from one of my favourite Essex breweries, one who have opened one of the micro-pubs I've mentioned above under the surname of the brewery's founder, a brewery that was named after his father. And so, as the year becomes old, it's time to open that bottle.
The Sixth Day:
George's Brewery - Ebenezer Old 4.2%
This seasonal offering from George's is brewed with five malts as well as Phoenix and Centennial hops, and is designed to be as dark as pre-spirit-visited Ebenezer's heart. Of the three the brewery has produced with Christmas in mind it's the one I've not had before so I'm obviously keen to try it.
It pours a deep dark ruby red with a tight beige head and an aroma that mixes liquorice and grapefruit beautifully. It's got a lively prickle of carbonation that brings in a bitter burnt toast flavour that heralds the arrival of some grapefruit peel citrus and a hint of chocolate, but this is quickly swept away again by that burnt toastiness, dark chocolate caramel and a little liquorice. The finish is warm and toasty too, but it's not a boozy warmth, this comes from the chocolate malty bitterness that fills the mouth with a pleasingly satisfying sensation, the kind you get from finishing a box of your favourite decadent chocolates at Christmas safe in the knowledge that you have another couple put aside for a special occasion.
This is a delicious beer. It's as well balanced as the label claims and not the least bit sickly sweet. I'm sure you'll still be able to find a bottle of this out there, you might even find it on cask, so pick pick one up or have a pint if you do. You'll thank me for it.
To find out more about George's Brewery (and its alter-ego Hop Monster) and their beers just use this link to do so. You'll notice that my name appears on the brewery's home page but I have received no payment nor have I done any work for the brewery, they just happened to like my reviews of beer that I paid for myself. I hope to visit the brewery early in the new year, they have invited me but I've not had a chance to make it there, or to the micro-pub yet. Expect a full report when I do though.