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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 aren’t considered “craft” that makes me hate myself. Maybe it’s the rather plain description of this beer as being “full bodied with a malt aroma.” Maybe it’s the strange cartoon, beagle-like dog dressed as Father Christmas that brings the branding down a few steps and is the least threatening canine drawn since Snoopy. I’m not here to give out free marketing tips – BUT if I were, then scrap the little cartoons on the front of each bottle Wolf Brewery. The underlying design is pretty firm but this makes a mockery of it. Anyway, the beer...

A burnt sienna colour with lots of carbonation, Santa Paws is everything I thought it’d be and all I hoped it wouldn’t. A nose dominated by oaky malts with the gentlest sprinkling of winter berries starts things in the direction I assumed it would. The taste is a rather simple mixture of more intense maltiness, oak-chip nuttiness and a finish of sharp, chewy doughiness. This is all brought together by a far too forceful carbonation that bubbles away pilsner-style and a body that is anything but “full.” Hints of berries in the aftertaste add at least part of another dimension, but they taste artificially sweet. I may be catching up on these posts and in the four days since it was consumed, I’ve all but forgotten this beer ever existed, minus these brief tasting notes. This is not a Wolf in shee... oh wait, no. Here is one boy who doesn’t want to cry Wo... oh God. Basically, it’s disappointing. 

Christmas Spirit Rating: 18%. Here’s some festive joy! And whilst we’re at it, how about a punch in the jaw?


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