Friday, 25 December 2015

#12EssexBeersofChristmas The First Day

The Twelve Essex Beers of Christmas 

It's Christmas Day!

I hope that you've been good boys and girls this year and Father Christmas brought you lots of lovely presents. Maybe you got some beer from a friend or relative, maybe you're drinking it now while you're reading this.

This is the third year that the Beer O'Clock Show have run their #12BeersofXmas and although they start on the 20th of December, I like to start on the traditional first day of Christmas, Christmas Day, and run all the way through to Twelfth Night. You can follow them on Twitter and Instagram by simply searching for the #12BeersofXmas hashtag.

I had an idea that I wanted to do solely beers produced in Essex this time, and Chrsitmas/Winter themed or related beers at that. I have to say that that it wasn't easy to find twelve different bottles and it was a close run thing whether I would be able to source them all. Fortunately some breweries produce more than one, and with the help of the Billericay Brewing Micro-pub shop, the Hop Beer Shop in Chelmsford, Cellers off-licence in Billericay, and the Brentwood Brewing Company, I was able to complete the task.

These won't be long posts, but perhaps some may be a little longer than others, but I'm hoping that they will be just enough to give you insight into some of the seasonal offerings from Essex brewers this year. If I can find twelve different Essex Christmas beers next year I'll do this again, so I'll throw the gauntlet down now and allow you brewers time to get your thinking caps on and come up something a little bit special for when this season rolls around again. That is twelve months away however, and this is now. so without further ado here is the first of my #12EssexBeersofChristmas .

The First Day - Christmas Day:
Crouch Vale - Santa's Revenge 5.0%

This was one of the beers that I was keenest to get this year, not least because that where I found it I would also find bottles of Crouch Vale's fantastic Sorachi Ace single-hopped beer. I was hoping for a Christmas cracker to kick off my twelve days and this doesn't disappoint.

It has a malty caramel grapefruit aroma that leads straight into a taste that mirrors it perfectly. With enough body to capture all that flavour, there's a beautiful fruitcake element to it that makes it an easy pairing with a mince pie or a slice of Christmas pudding, as the bottle label suggests, or a Boxing Day treat with the cold meat and pickles, as its fruity grapefruit notes linger long into the finish. Brewed with pale and cara malts and ("outrageously expensive" it says) US Amarillo hops, it's well worth seeking out if you can find some.

Merry Christmas to you all!

If you would like to know more about Crouch Vale Brewery and their beers then you can follow this link to their website.
The 'Essex - Season's Greetings' image is taken from a Christmas card produced for Essex County Cricket Club by Heritage Leisure Designs Ltd.

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