Monthly Archives: December 2016

#12beersofxmas day 5ish – Omnipollo Anagram – An interview with the big man!


”Tis the season to be jolly, fa la la la laaaaa etc etc….

Christmas eve, I love the feel good anticipation and good spirit that floats around on Christmas Eve.  Not least of all from my sons.

Theyve spent the whole day getting so excited they could burst at any moment!  My eldest (5) came to me and said “dad, can we leave one of your extra special beers out for Santa, cos he’s a very special man”. And how could I say no to that!

So the remainder of this blog is my interview with the big man. Enjoy!

Me: Hi Mr Claus, thanks for sparing time to speak to me on tonight of all nights. I know you’re a big lover of good beer. What did you make of the Anagram?

SC: hick! Erm is that a mince pie?

Me: Erm yeah, would you like one? There’s one on your tray.

SC: Thanks, they’re delicious! Ho ho ho!

Me: Sorry Santa, did you enjoy the beer?

SC: Oh did you leave that for me? It was delicious! It smelled every inch like a blended blueberry cheesecake and blueberries aren’t exactly a strong aroma, or at least strong enough to be pronounced in a 12% beer aroma. This beer is superb.

Theres a thick coating texture to it, lining your insides with over the top patterns like Lawrence Llewelyn Bowen on steroids.

The cheesecake element is that vanilla creamy flavour and texture and the initial flavour is the blueberry.

Backing that up is a stiff upper lip. A thick slap in the face from the boozy liquor that lifts this beer from being a sweet devourable beer to a bigger more involved experience. You know when you’ve had this beer. It’s one that takes you on a journey and not just to the fridge and back.

Quite possibly beer of the year. It’s certainly in the conversation.

Me: Thanks Santa. That’s great insight. Can I be the first to wish you a merry Christmas and hope the rest of your night goes well.

SC: thanks, must be off! Ho ho ho!! Merrrrrrryyy Christmas!!!!



#12beersofxmas day 4ish – De Struise Pannepot


Long since held in wide acclaim, highly regarded on ratebeer and yet its long since eluded me.  Had a few folk telling me they rate it higher than a Rochefort 10. Now hold your horses there squire….

Truth is this is a stunning beer.  Feels very authentic and loaded with pedigree. The aroma is dark fruits and top quality brandy.

The beers dark deep brown like a glass full of sultanas, zero head to speak of.

First taste is those dark fruits. The beer has a good body and slightly thicker mouthfeel. I kinda perceive better quality beers to have more body, or at least I’ve been disappointed in the past by a beer simply because of its mouthfeel. Which sounds very prejudicial but hey ho!

The flavours in this are juicy and bold, balanced and well pitched. Those dark fruits are indeed soaked in brandy. It’s all kinda sultanas, raisins, figs and almonds. This feels very Christmas, Santa in a glass, mine pie accompanying splendour!

Another lovely beer, #12beersofxmas going very very well!






#12beersofxmas day 3ish Hawksheadbrewery Cider Brandy Barrel aged Oat Wine


OK firstly an apology, this is yesterday’s beer supped today.  ‘Twas my works Christmas do last night and after a few too many Jakeheads I wasn’t in any position to fairly evaluate a complex beer like this!

So here I am! I’ve heard a lot of people talking about this beer. Not overly hyped but seems a slow burner. There are a great many folk who have gotten in touch since I posted my line up to say that this is a stonking beer. I cannae wait to crack it!

Bottle opens to very little drama. Pours quite calm, not looking too lively. Settles with no head to speak of, looking like a glass full of golden marmalade.

Aroma is very smooth, the ciders there but it’s not sweet or overly dry, smells well balanced and enticing.

First taste is good. The oat wine base gives a good body to it. It’s very smooth. The cider apples are prominent, the brandy is the spike of alcohol to remind you this is a beer.  A beer standing at 9% no less.

Man this is smooth. There’s a lovely mouth coating quality yet it’s not syrupy. It’s big, bold but feels decadent. Why don’t other try this style?! I want to try more beers as good as this!!

Theres a hint of sweetness beneath all the noise. Almost toffee apple esq.  This would work so well with apple crumble. But it’s the custard that would compliment it best. Mmmmm custard…..

Tremendous work folks!

#12beersofxmas day 2 Buxton/Omnipollo Rocky Road Ice Cream


Let’s face it, if anyone had said to me 5 years ago that I’d be sat here drinking rocky road ice cream flavoured beer Id have called them crazy. Yet here I am.

A collab between Omnipollo, Omni meaning ‘one’, pollo meaning ‘goal to make the best, most bonkers beer on the planet’. Sorry what? Is my google translate playing up again?  That’s what that name translates to me anyway.

Married with Buxton, now Buxton continuously bring out consistently amazing beers. Seriously, tell me one of their beers which isn’t amazing. There you go, you can’t.

So putting the two together can only bring great things. Yellow Belly has already proven their quality in collaborating. I’ve had the original vanilla ice cream pale a couple of times and it’s genuinely amazing on keg. I was a little less fussed on the bottles but I guess part of the ice creaminess is the mouthfeel which I didn’t feel had the same quality from the bottle.

Enough about that though, this is a different beast. Aroma is boozy marshmallows, sweet and almost sickly.  But then on first taste the flavours are more balanced.  It’s sweet, oh yes it sweet but then so would a slice of rocky road be! The marshmallow flavours are there, there’s an abundance of chocolate too. Creamy dairy milk not cheap cooking chocolate.  Ooo yes I likey!



#12beersofxmas Day 1 – Hardknott Rhetoric edition 4.1


Here’s a beer that I’ve been very interested to try.  Hardknott are a very good brewery, often forgotten about.  I think what’s drawn me to them over the years are the very open and honest blogs from @hardknottdave giving some fascinating background to the beers that I’m drinking.  That goes a long way for me.

So to the beer.  On cracking the cap, very little ‘pfft’…. on pour, it’s clearly thick, using a spoon to scrape the beer out the bottle!

Oh my that smells good. Incredible chocolate aroma with booze soaked dried juicy sultanas and raisins enticing me to take a sip.

Oh and that first sip doesn’t disappoint. It’s everything the pour and aroma hinted at, but more so!  I’m in a crushed velvet suit, smooth on my skin, toasty warm and cosy. It’s got me planted on the sofa, heart warming glow, feeling all festive and full of Christmas spirit. Tonight would have been a good night for a charitable door knock (thankfully there have been none).

The beer is complex. This has been in the shed for months so is served quite cold which made the lovely initial chocolate flavours prominent. Now that it’s warming there’s more edge to it.  Chocolate and juicy raisins remain in the flavour but the beer warming gives more bitterness to the chocolate, it feels earthy and rounded.

The boozy edge grows too. Proud and unashamed. Fine by me, this isn’t an easy sessionable beer, it’s a full body deep tissue massage, leaving me feeling challenged and energised as a result. You take your time with a beer like this.  Savoured!

Cant wait for tomorrow’s beer now!!!!