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Advent Calendar Windows Fourteen and Fifteen

This weekend was a rather frantic affair that saw me in my house, awake, for a total of around two hours, so I've fallen a little behind again. Despite big social sessions on Friday and Saturday, I did manage to sneak in the Advent Calendar beers in quickly before each event, but simply didn't have time to do the write up. So here they are.

 It's another N√łgne seasonal behind Window 14 and another I’ve been looking forward to having had it stashed for many a month now. The God Jul that I had in Window 8 was good, but lacked that Christmassy edge I’d expected from this brewery. It’s lowered my expectations of the Underlig Jul 6.5% but, as I’m drinking this whilst preparing for a night out, just a terrific beer will do right now.
My enjoyment of this was almost immediately soured by its incredible liveliness which saw me lose half of the bottle to my (luckily wooden) bedroom floor. Cheers N√łgne. The plus side was this meaning a lovely, sustained head throughout the drink to contrast the darkness of the beer. It smells florally sweet but with a spicy warming sensation to it. And the taste is pretty special for me. It’s certainly sweet, but not in a sickly manner. It’s more orange peel than syrup and a spicy hop flavour balances it beautifully. Cloves and Vanillas battling against each other in a Scandinavian Christmas duel.  It’s similar in style and taste to the Gouden Carolus in many ways, but it’s reduced strength actually only increases its appeal. I could drink a lot of this and it’s over all too quickly. I know I can’t blame the brewery for this overly lively bottle, but this may have been my favourite Advent beer so far if more of it had made its way into my glass rather than on my toes. Frustrating.
Enjoy with: Maybe this Christmas by Ron Sexsmith, a delightful and overlooked Christmas song over all too quickly.
I was rather looking forward to getting the chance to try Hook Norton’s Twelve Days 5.5% again for the first time since 2010. I really enjoyed a spicy, warming, tinsel fuelled bauble of an ale that I thought may well make it to the top of the pile this Advent. And here it is behind Window 15.
I’m going to make comparisons based on a distant memory so I may as well get straight to it. This isn’t as good as the beer I enjoyed two years ago. It’s still deliciously dark, well balanced and has Christmas spiced undertones. It balances malts and hops in a traditionalist way only Hook Norton can. But the cinnamon, clove and ginger seem really toned down. Maybe last time I wasn’t accustomed to such a style so was blown away by those spices. Like when we all first tried Jaipur and thought it was the hoppiest beer that would ever be created and now it almost feels comparable to Landlord when placed alongside more recent efforts. I have a bottle of Twelve Days from 2010 somewhere, maybe I’ll crack that open just to check
Enjoy with: The Snowman, at one time a classic that truly made Christmas for me but nowadays I find a little tedious.


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