Monday, 28 December 2015

#12EssexBeersofChristmas The Fourth Day

The Twelve Essex Beers of Christmas

It's great to be still off work, although that all changes tomorrow. I fancied another easy day so I'll leave a couple of the things I have planned for a little later on in this celebration of festive Essex beer, but I was looking through some beer related facts today and although it's doesn't have an Essex connection I noticed that today was the birthday of John Molson, the founder of Molson Brewery.

Born in Moulton, Lancashire in 1763, he emigrated to Quebec in Canada when he was 18 years old and set up a brewery, albeit one funded by a Trust from he recently deceased father. His beer was soon in much demand and he became the largest supplier of beer in the Lower Canada region. Using the money he made he was able to diversify into other areas, buying steamships to carry both goods and passengers and even building a grand hotel in Montreal. A prominent member of society he lived to be 72 years of age before succumbing to the cholera epidemic that swept through the region in 1836. The brewery is now a subsidiary of Molson Coors Brewering Company after their merger with the US brewery Coors in 2005, and now own such brands as Mitchells & Butlers, Toby, Worthington, Stones, and Sharp's as well as the controversial Blue Moon witbier, which came under fire for misleading customers its 'fake craft' labelling that omitted that it was made by a division of the larger brewer.

There's no link that I could find between tonight's brewery Molson, Molson Coors, or even Canada, although the Pilgrim Fathers who set sail to the New World aboard the Mayflower met in Billericay prior to sailing and many of their descendants settled in Canada, but this is rather tenuous to say the least.

I'm on firmer ground with the title of the beer as, to those who are familiar with the genre, Black Christmas is a Canadian psychological slasher film made in 1974 starring Margot Kidder (who played the title characters love interest, Lois Lane in the four Superman films between 1978 and 1987), that was remade in 2006 starringno gruesome fate awaits me  a couple of other sci-fi/fantasy actresses Michelle Trachtenberg (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and Katie Cassidy (Arrow).

I'm fairly certain that no gruesome fate awaits me when I open the bottle I have this evening, however you'll excuse me if I'm a little cautious.

The Fourth Day:
Billericay Brewing - Black Christmas 5.0%

Black Christmas is Billericay Brewing's first Festive beer and also their first Black IPA, which is something of a personal victory for me as I have pestered Trevor for both things over the last couple of years. That he has combined both in a single beer makes me very happy indeed. What makes me even happier is how it tastes, but I'm jumping a little ahead of myself here.

Brewed with plenty of Chinook and Cascade hops it pours a deep dark brown with a light billowing cloud-like off-white head and an aroma that combines the grapefruit notes of the hops with the toasty caramel notes beautifully, and one which typifies this style. Smooth, and perhaps a little on the thin side the grapefruit citrus notes spike early filling the mouth with a flood of fruity hoppiness before the dark roasty malts sweep in with some some chocolatey and burnt toast notes building buzzy bitterness at the very edges of the tongue. There's a light smokey element too and it's this that's the main feature of a finish that fades far too quickly for my liking.

It has to be said, and I know many will agree with me, that this is Billericay Brewing's best beer by some way. A winner in the bottle and on cask, which if anything is even better, I'm looking forward to brewing my own variation on this beer with Trevor in the near future if we can arrange it (let's talk soon!) in time for the Chelmsford Winter Beer Festival in February. Look out for it.

Should you wish to find out more about Billericay Brewing and their beer you can find them here on Twitter and normally at although the website appears to be temporarily down at present. You could also visit the Billericay Micro-pub and beer shop next door to the brewery itself for a drink and to pick up some great Essex beer, although it's worth checking the opening times before you do. Maybe I'll see you there.

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