You know how you’ve scanned your local supermarket shelves so many times that you know exactly what beers are where... it means that when something new arrives it sits on that shelf like the brightest bauble on the Christmas tree shouting "look at me, you haven’t tried me before!"
That's exactly what happened with Bath Ales’ Festivity. That tinsel-pink bottle label and orange hare jumped straight out at me. I walked past it the first time (after a quick read of the label, of course) only returning after a friend from university, James, said that it was one of his favourite beers at this time of year. I’m glad I did return.
A seasonal porter, it’s almost opaque except for where the flashing Christmas tree lights just glimmer through at the edge of the glass. The bottle says rum, coffee and vanilla and, the power of suggestion aside, that’s what you get, plus a delicious depth of chocolate, the sort you’d get from an amazing milkshake. It’s full-bodied, smooth and ever-so tasty – cocoa, a little brown sugar and vanilla but it never gets over-sweet (not that it stayed in my glass long enough to notice), balanced by a savouriness and a subtle, nutty-earthy bitterness. Yummy is definitely the right word to use for this beer as there’s a silky unctuousness to it with a chocolate richness tempered by moreish glugability. It’s the nicest bottled beer I’ve had from the supermarket in ages and definitely the best Christmas-themed beer I’ve had this year. I’m going back to Waitrose today to buy a couple more.
Anyone had this yet? Any other festive seasonal bottles worth drinking or are they mostly just gimmicky and as disappointing as an empty stocking on Christmas Day?