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Advent Calendar Window 19 - White Christmas

"Everyone is singing,  I hear those sleigh bells ringing Santa, won't you bring me the one I really need?   Won't you please bring my baby to me?  Perhaps a sign of my (rapidly ending) youth, but Saltaire Brewery feel like they've been around forever. Perhaps the fact that they opened the year I moved to Leeds, 2005 - and were frequently available there - has something to do with this. Based in Saltaire, just outside of Bradford, for a long time this brewery was synonymous with my introduction to the Cascade hop, as well as their excellent Raspberry Blonde. Obviously, Saltaire are adapting with the times and are now doing kegged beers and styles such as Black IPAs. But, for me, they are masters aof the 4-5% cask ale.  So, Christmas is rapidly approaching and thanks to the masses who spray deodorant directly into the O-Zone layer and drop petrol into the atmosphere (as is my understanding) we're unlikely to get a white Christmas this year or any afte

Advent Calendar Window 18 - Santa Paws (Wolf)

"What can I give him? Poor as I am,  If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb."  The real challenge today is to prove to myself that I have a flair or talent for the written word. That will come if I manage to make it through this review without using phrases along the lines of “Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing” or “The Boy who cried wolf.” I promise nothing. Wolf Brewery are a 19-year-old set-up from East Anglia who began life on an old Gaymers Cider site before outgrowing their current location and moving in 2006. Wolf are passionately fierceful about their town of Attleborough, their county of Norfolk and their borough of East Anglia. A bit of local pride is not a sin and their expansion and success would suggest Wolf Brewery are doing a lot right. Having said that, in my deepest honesty I would say that the beer behind Advent Window 18 was one I was least looking forward to. Perhaps it’s a rather distasteful, unintentional, subliminal view of breweries that ar

Advent Calendar Window 17 - Holly Bush

"Pretty lights on the tree, I'm watching them shine,  You should be here with me  Baby, please come home."  Salopian Brewery from Shrewsbury were established in 1995 and were once more affiliated with tasty, but rather standard ales such as Shropshire Gold and Oracle. They were ordinary Golden Bitters that sufficed when available, but never had me searching for more. Then, two years ago, I tasted their Darwin's Origin and realised they were innovating and bringing out incredible new efforts. It was balanced, hoppy and delicious.  Since then, they've been stocking their beers in the majority of "craft" beer shops up and down the land and receiving great plaudits. They seem to differentiate with tradition by the black labels with white writing showing that the beer inside is on the "newer" side. Since that applies to this Holly Bush behind Window 17 on this Advent Calendar, I hold out high hopes for it.  Salopian Brewery - Holly Bu

Advent Calendar Window 16 - Santa Paws and Hoppy Christmas

"Jessica Biel and Megan Fox Wearing nothing but their socks  Is all I really want for Christmas this year" Christmas has many pairings. Cheese and crackers. Turkey and trimmings. Christmas beer and anarchy. It must be difficult for punks to really embrace this particular season. After all, non-conformists can't possibly embrace a time of year that is mainly made of joy, smiles and shit television adverts. But, Brewdog are trying to run a business here and a successful one at that. So, it seems only right that they jump on the Christmas beer bandwagon.  Of course, these beers have existed in previous years and Brewdog did make an appearance in last year's calendar with their delicious Paradox Christmas. I had one of the two beers reviewed here - and yes there are two beers in today's Window - on keg in 2012 and found it nothing to do with Christmas. But let us see what we think here. B rewdog Christmas beers Santa Paws - 4.5% Malts, malts,

Advent Calendar Window 15 - Festive Christmas Porter

"We specialised in causing pain,  Spreading fear and doubt.  And if you couldn't pay the rent,  We simply threw you out."  Burton Upon Trent has, as many of you will know, long been a reputed beer town. But with the four famous names in the town, Bass, Allied, Marston's and Everard's being sold to bigger businesses so they could remian household names, it became the small town of sellouts. Still, part of the tradition exists in Burton Bridge Brewery ensuring the Beer-Mecca town still has a micro. The terrific story continues here .  I am upset I have struggled to keep these posts up-to-date, but moving house and not having the internet in my new dwelling has made it near impossible. So, this post relates to the beer behind Window 15 that I drank on Monday. The weakest beer in the calendar I believe, but still an exciting one for me. Simple branding and a simple name will hopefully lead to a traditional, simple but solid little beer. Let us find out. 

Golden Pints 2014

  I learnt that there was going to be such a thing as #goldenposts this year far too late to do anything about it. Even my super memory isn't adept enough to recall posts to suit each category, but I'll be paying more attention this year so I can join in next time. Anyway, for the first year ever I've decided to deliver some #goldenpints even though I should probably be concentrating on catching up with my Advent Calendar posts. Best UK Cask Beer – Easy. Magic Rock – Rapture . I’d forgive them if they sold their souls to have this in every pub up and down the land. Best UK Keg Beer – I would love to award it to a Siren Craft Brew beer - N├Ącken – but I’m not sure if this counts as it was a collaboration with Omnipollo . If not then Buxton Brewery - Axe Edge has been terrific this year.  Best UK Bottle or Can – It should be available more as Buxton Brewery – Wyoming Sheep Ranch has been offensively good this year. Easily the best IPA this country is pro

Advent Calendar Window 14 - La Goudale de Noel

"Keep my distance, but you still catch my eye, Tell me, baby, do you recognise me? Well, it’s been a year, that doesn’t surprise me" La Goudale is an interesting French enigma. I searched for this under the label Brassee a L’Ancienne believing this to be the name of the brewery. After some fruitless searching, I learnt that this is not the name of a brewer, but rather a French saying that, roughly translated, means “Brewed in a Traditional way.” La Goudale is actually from the Brewery Gayant based in Douai, North-east France that aleso houses other well-nown brews such as Amadeus and La Biere Du Demon.  The real reason I find them an enigma though is for the discovery the other day that two of their beers – the Abbey and Wit – are sold in Aldi. They are in 750ml bottles and are £2.49 and £1.99 respectively. Housed here, the repugnant snob in me thinks they look cheap and unappetising on these shelves and managed to slightly put me off my La Goudale

Advent Calendar Window 13 - Bristletoe

"The best time of year, when everyone comes home,  With so much Christmas cheer, it's hard to be alone, Putting up the Christmas tree, with friends all around,  It's so much fun, when Christmas comes to town." It’s been tough to keep on top of this Advent Calendar in the midst of  moving house in December and the subsequent discovery that I have more belongings than is necessary, most of them being entirely useless. But, whilst the posts may be slightly delayed, the beers are still being drunk accordingly. We have now entered the part of December when Beer Advent Calendars become a matter of determined commitment. Drinking before heavy social occasions or with debilitating hangovers just for the love of Christmas themed beers is something only for the devoted.  So this post relates to Saturday 13 th December and Window 13 of this Advent calendar. I’ve tried to get this beer for the two previous year’s efforts but have always found it soldout. This year