#12beersofxmas day 9 – Buxton/Omnipollo Texas Pecan Ice Cream



Yup it’s them again. I think I’ve seen more Omnipollo mentions than any other brewery in people’s #12beersofxmas and I can understand why. I loved both the Rocky Road Ice Cream and the Anagram I’ve had so far. So what of the Texas Pecan?

Well what is a Texas Pecan? No it’s not a bird, you’re thinking of a Toucan…

Pecan nuts are originally found in a Mexico however, their popularity in the United States led many producers there to start growing them. Random fact, Georgia is the US biggest Pecan producing state, Texas is second.

So this is a nutty ice cream beer from the second largest Pecan producing state in the US. Got it?

Regardless, for me this beer has to be judged in direct comparison to the rocky road I had earlier. And for that I think it suffers.

The aroma is dark chocolate, Cocoa even, but not a lot more. The beer appears thick and dark, a light vacuum. Ain’t no light getting through this bad boy.

The texture is thick, but actually feels thinner than the rocky road. Without that rocky road comparison I’d be enjoying this a lot more. It’s a bloody good beer, just not as good as it’s brother. Sibling rivalry agogo!

The Pecan isn’t very pronounced. It’s hinting at a yellow Belly style beer but seems to hold back. It’s the quiet twin isn’t it. The family member that no one will remember. That had as much ability as any other family member but didn’t put down a statement of intent strong enough to stand out.

They should pretend this is from any other brewery and it’d be awesome. As it stands I’m disappointed. Which is just crazy.

Cracking beer, suffers for its company!



#12beersofxmas day 8 – Tempest Brewing Co Mexicake


So I’m 8 days in yet a day behind, will catch up tonight!

This was a fun one for me. In years gone by there have been some pretty obvious overlaps in beer choices, by that I mean there has always been a few beers that were in most people’s line ups. And the collaborative fashion in the industry usually saw folk drinking these together and comparing notes. What’s been noticeable this year is that the array of beers on offer has been so vast that there have been far fewer same beers supped. So when a few of us mentioned Mexicake we all got together to sup it on the same day, at the same time.

So tonight great beery colleagues @thegreatcubbio and @thealelady and I sat down to crack open this beast.

I say beast, it’s really quite tame, but watch it….

it pours abit flat, no real drama. In appearance I’m abit wary that it may be abit thin.

Aroma is bold though, chocolate to start, some fruitiness in there, think berries but then a warm rum note to it.

First sup is chocolate, milk chocolate, not too bitter. Berries do back it up, rich juicy dark berries, blackberries, blueberries, raisins too.

The body appears thin but in a reverse Dr Who tardis like fashion it becomes thicker on the inside. The minute it hits your mouth it must expand because in mouthfeel at least it’s got a lacing thick texture that is very pleasant and in no rush to move on. Gives you time to enjoy it.

While your enjoying that lingering texture, watching a few programmes, doing a few chores, then right when you least expect it boom! The chilli jumps out, booo! Made me jump! The warmth is really strong, but doesn’t overpower, doesn’t last and ruin your next sip, just makes it presence known. Little victory dance on your tongue and gets back in its corner for a pep talk before round 2.

This is a lovely chilli stout. Really good example of the style.

Tempest are a brewery I always look out for and this beer is exactly why. Nice work!




#12beersofxmas day 6 – Thornbridge The Heart Desires


Remember when you first started drinking craft?  Chances are back then you at some point discovered Jaipur/Chiron/Kipling. These beers are such classics that they often get forgotten about in conversations but they’re iconic. Their problem is that they’ve been too good for too long that they’re just not new anymore.

They still excel. They still astound you with quality. If you see these beers, buy them. Simple. Cask, keg whatever, they always deliver.

So Thornbridge are taking steps to push boundaries. And I think these barrel aged series beers represent a real big, deliberate, articulate, step in the direction of progress.

So far we’ve seen Days of Creation, Love Among The Ruins, Serpent (the collab with Brooklyn brewery) and The Heart Desires.

Love a beer with a caged cork, classy and rewarding when opening. Similar ‘pop’ to champers!

The zest is in your face from the moment you pour. The beer zips and sings around in the glass like an eager bee hunting pollen.

Every sip is met with a crisp refreshing wash. This is a beer that gives your tongue a workout. It’s a deep cleanse of every tastebud. Washing through every other lingering flavour in your mouth. Ultimate reset button.

But it’s so much more than that. It’s classy, and crisp, drying to the finish, taunting you to take on more, go on, have another gulp….

I bloomin intend to!





#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!