Beer Revere: Crafty Christmas tasting with Hop Hideout!
Deck the boughs with beers and holly, fa-la-la-la-la, beer-la-la-laaaa. Or I think that’s how the festive classic tune goes!
Nothing says Christmas more than a big, beautiful bottle of beer to share round the table (or noble fir tree) with friends and family. Whether it’s alongside your mince pie, turkey roast or that game of charades. A bottle of luscious festive beer can really add to the occasion: think dark wintry stouts, decadent Belgian beers and festive fruity sours for starters. There’s always room for those ‘fridge favourites’ too, like your stash of go-to pale ale, IPA or lager such as Abbeydale’s Heathen, Saint Mars’ Clamp or Rothaus’ Pils. With all that in mind, we invited Emma, Joe and Dan from the Exposed team to Hop Hideout to road test some UK-brewed Christmas beers and give their verdict for your shopping consideration this season.
Saint Mars of the Desert: Mice (6.3%, Sheffield)
Part 1 of ‘The Battle of Frogs & Mice’ series, this is a Belgian golden ale aka “Flanders Bitter” in the words of the brewery. With clove-like and bubblegum notes adding to its complexity. The beer is a tribute to the pioneering Belgian brewers of the 1980s. Strong and bitter, hopped with Whitbread Goldings and Nugget.
Saint Mars of the Desert: Frogs (8.0%, Sheffield) – Dan’s favourite
Part 2 of ‘The Battle of Frogs & Mice’ series. A gorgeous red-hued beer, Belgian quadruple like, with a honey-meets-treacle aroma and stunning viscosity. Like a boozy mince pie. Great with a cheese board, pair with a gentle and creamy blue cheese or substitute this instead of your after-dinner glass of port.
Brew York: Fairytale of Brew York (4.9%, York) – Emma’s favourite
A gingerbread milk stout with lashings of cinnamon and vanilla. Hints of toasted marshmallow meld with roasted caramel, plus well-balanced kicks from the spicing with an inviting deep, rich mahogany colour.
Anspach & Hobday: Pffefernusse Stout (6.0%, London)
Based on the German biscuit of the same name, this stout unifies rich, malty dark notes balanced with Christmas spicing and a big roasted punch. Ginger dominates alongside the biscuity malt and hint of nutmeg.
Overtone: Spice Jam (7.0%, Glasgow) – Joe’s favourite
Spiced winter dessert sour with juicy plums, sweet blackberries, and sour raspberries. In addition to lashings of cinnamon and vanilla. This sour has a big-hitting tanginess with bags of fruitiness and an immediate mouth-watering puckering sensation. The creamy body adds to the ‘jamminess’ of the beer, alongside its vibrant deep red and purple-tinged colour. Try this beer paired with a festive brunch pancake stack, using the sour beer as an alternative to orange juice for a decidedly red fruity mimosa.
Unity Brewing Co: Hug It Out (5.8%, Southampton)
Luscious stout with cacao, hazelnut and vanilla inspired by a certain celebratory purple confection, hint hint. An inviting nutty aroma leads into a chocolatey smooth taste. Stick a classic Christmas film on the tellybox, grab a big bucket of Quality Street and a can of this beer to round off your Boxing Day.
Like the sound of these festive specials? Head down to Hop Hideout at Kommune Food Hall, or visit online to grab some for yourself!