Monday 29 December 2008

Christmas Beer: The Results

The BrewDog Coffee Imperial Stout was one of the very best beers I’ve had this year. Seriously good. Thick and luscious, rich and strong and big on the roasted coffee bitterness. It was the perfect start to the day, and just so happened to work perfectly with milk chocolate pennies.

As billed, the Bad Pixie came next as was the perfect follow-on from the big stout – light, zingy, refreshing. Next was a bottle of Cantillon Kriek 100% Lambic. Electric red with a sharply sour nose of citrus, lemons, leather, cleaning chemicals and just a welcome whiff of cherry. The flavour was just the same, all big and sharp but tongue-smacking and drinkable – perfect for getting the tastebuds going. Curious Brew’s Brut landed just before the starter and it was fantastic: light and delicate, as quaffable as they come; a real treat of a beer.

The headline act - the star with top billing and the best action scene - was Innis & Gunn’s Triple Matured, and it was the perfect partner to the turkey. I was delighted with how well this pairing went. The buttery richness of the oak, the big fruitiness, the slight sharpness, an earthy, spicy quality all combined stunningly well. The food enhanced the beer; the beer enhanced the food. That’s what a good match-up should do.

I finished the afternoon opening more presents, so I decided to open a little package of my own from the beer cupboard: Fuller’s Brewer’s Reserve. Bottle number 11255. A deep russet brown with thick head. Big buttery nose with boozy oranges and sweet candy. Loads of toffee and bready malt inside, then oak comes and adds a woody sweetness. The whisky warms throughout, surrounded by plenty of fruit and a hint of cherry brandy. There’s hops at the end too, more fruits and more orange. Gorgeous and I think it’s going to get better and better over the years.

There was more in the evening, but to tell you the truth I don’t remember exactly what. I know there was a can (shock! A can?!) of Mild in there and I’m pretty sure I met with my old friend Sam Smith… It was a good day.

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