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Advent Calendar Windows Eighteen and Nineteen

I’m finally catching up with my posts, just as I come towards the end of this trying calendar.

Window 18 is Wagtail Brewery’sJumping Jericho 5.2%. Okay, so the name is a little silly, yet I really enjoy the presentation and design of this beer. It’s probably the first Christmas beer I’ve had that actually includes a religious connotation, in name or label. I can’t say I remember much about Wagtail brewery, though I’ve heard of them , none of their beers have stuck in the memory.

With a clear amber colour and plane head , there’s a decent nuttiness to the nose and a honeysuckle thought. Unfortunately, Jumping Jericho falls flat on flavour. It’s got a sweet caramelisation and spruce like beginning. But the residue is metallic, like licking the rusting bottom of an old hop kettle. When the corroded metal subsides, it’s quite a malty mess of ale that does nothing to promote the true story of Christmas. Indeed, if one of the wise men had brought this beer as a gift to Jesus, Mr Christ would probably have grown up to lead a life of crime and been taken down in his youth in a spear-out by Nazareth’s eastside. Perhaps the title came from a strange exclamation inside the brewery: “Jumping Jericho this is average.”

Enjoy with: The Great Escape, apparently a British institution at this time of year, but not for me.

Window 19 proudly holds two ales that I brought together as they are both priory brewed beers from Belgium. BrouwerijHaacht Tongerlo I have never had anything by, but my records show I did have Corsendonk Pater years ago, though I have no memory of this. Today we have the Tongerlo Christmas Amber 7% and Corsendonk Christmas 8.5%.

We’ll start with the Corsendonk which has that familiar rosey hue about it and a lovely bubbly head. It’s becoming the standard with these Belgian Christmas efforts. However, it is possibly the nicest smelling so far, with plenty of brandy soaked fruit, sherry, Christmas pudding, coriander, gentle spices and apricots. The taste could match this if it wasn’t let down by that heavy Belgian yeastiness and carbonation. When it settles in your throat, there’s lots of nutmeg and sherry once more. In fact it’s wonderful, like liquidising a Christmas pudding, adding a few glugs of strawberry juice and a touch of priory magic. It needed time to breathe that I was denying it. This is why the Belgians spend hours enjoying singular beers, to let them settle. I was being a typical Brit and knocking it back like a Jaegerbomb on a Saturday night. Let it settle and it’s truly delicious.

Now I don’t often read Ratebeer or other such websites, but I had a peek for Tongerlo Christmas Amber when trying to find the Brouwerij Haacht website. The beer received average to poor reviews across the board and, whilst you can’t really use this as a basis for personal opinion, it drew me up slightly short because I quite liked this. Yes, it was a little thin in body and yes the spices and malts are not at a perfect blend but it has similar styles and characteristics that I enjoy to the above Corsendonk. Furthermore the whole thing comes together for a nutty butterscotch finish. The most confusing part is the amount of reviews I read referring to a strong alcohol burn, when no such problem occurs. I know I’ve not gone into too much detail about this beer, but really I wanted to use the opportunity to simply say that it’s good. It’s good. Lumping these two beers together was a good move by myself and number nineteen has been one of my favourite windows thus far.

Enjoy with: Cliff Richard’s Saviours Day. Look, just because everyone else hates it, doesn’t mean you should. It was number 1 for a reason you know…


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