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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 13th 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 it makes it and, somewhat ironically, was also behind Window 13 of the set Ales by Mail calendar. Consequently, it’s already been reviewed by others, including entertainingly by Justin Mason for his Advent Calendar blog posts. He’s also much better at keeping his posts up-to-date than I. 

The recipe of Bristletoe differes slightly each year and this is the 2014 version. It pours a distinctive woody brown shade but is flat, though glass selection may have affected this. It’s rather festively sweet on the nose - lots of dates, coffee revels and chestnuts.A lot of that follows into the initial flavours, with a grainy and woody maltiness cutting through spicy sweetness. The body is a little thin but a light smokiness keeps everything together and the finish comes about with a large hit of vanilla, raisins and cereal. It’s something I would have crooned over in previous years when I was looking for beers in this format. In terms of British festive beers, this has been one of the most authentic at this strength. 

Christmas Spirit Rating: 82%. Good to see, friends I know, kissing under the Bristletoe... 

Revisit:  Gouden Carolous Christmas from December 2012, because why wouldn't you?


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