I'll freely admit that I am writing this post under the influence. We had after work Christmas drinks with a client of mine, though it has to be said after work drinks with a distinct difference. Down the road from this clients office is a bar that specialises in speciality beers called Circus of Beer, it's not exactly in the most salubrious part of town (in fact you'd be hard pressed to call it town at all) but they have a rather unique cellar and at this time of year they have a whole clutch of very tasty buy very very strong Christmas beers. I suggested that it might be wise to get a random selection of the hundreds of beers that these guys have.
It started innocently enough with a Belgian Hoorgarden Grand Cru. Not strictly a Christmas beer but a fruity one to get us all started. This is a fine refined wheat beer that drinks rather like champagne; lemon zest flavours combine with a biscuity tone that slips down rather easily despite its 8.5% volume. Next up was a darker and sweeter Belgian beer, Dubuisson Bush De Noel. A real hoppy treat this, loads of sweetness and dark malty flavours, a beer to be sipped and mulled over. At a rather heady 12% this not a beer to be taken lightly but it is full of Christmas cheer and a depth of cinnamon tones, real classy stuff. The final beer for me was a mighty English Christmas ale made by the Dark Star brewery called Russian Imperial Stout. This is an ink black ale with heavy liquorice overtones and a long lingering bitter sweetness. At 10.5% this is an absolute beast of a beer, especially when your served up a pint of the stuff. It is deep, dark and complex, like getting mugged by a Christmas pudding smoking a liquorice paper roll up. Divine stuff but like a hammer blow to the head, damn good thing I don’t have that much to do in the morning. And please excuse the focus on the image above. I'm not to blame. Much.