Harvey & Sons Ltd is a 200-plus year-old brewery in Southeast Britain. It’s privately owned and run by 8th generation family members. Harvey’s Christmas Ale is a dark Barleywine.
Harvey’s Christmas Ale pours ruby red with a thin lacing of foam. The aroma is caramel, toffee, dates, and brown sugar. The taste isn’t as sweet as I expected, which
Christmas Beer Advent calendars are helping craft beer lovers to count down to Christmas. This year there are several Advent calendars pre-loaded with Christmas and winter brews. I’ll share a few. If you can’t find one, you can make your own. I’ll show you how.
Advent is the season that begins four Sundays prior to Christmas, some time between November 27th and December 3rd. Most Advent calendars
Perhaps you’ve seen the cleverly named and marketed Christmas ales from Britain and been disappointed with the beer inside. For a traditional English Christmas beer worth drinking, you won’t go wrong with Samuel Smith of Tadcaster, England. Winter Welcome Ale is their winter warmer. I’m reviewing the 2013-2014 vintage.
Winter Welcome pours copper with a thin white foam head. It smells sweet with bread, caramel, apples and floral notes. Sweet malts with caramel apples launch the taste, followed by
Insanely Bad Elf is Ridgeway Brewing’s alcoholic brother to Bad Elf, another of their Christmas ales. So, how is it? I’m tasting a 2011 bottle that has been aged 3 years.
Insanely Bad Elf pours copper red with a thin head that reduces to a few bubbles and lace. It has a sweet malt and dark fruit aroma. It tastes sweet with roasted caramel, brown sugar, and honey. Oak and plums come through near the finish. Hops are not prominent. The alcohol is right up front at 11.2% ABV.
Overall, it doesn’t have the body needed to tame the sugar or alcohol, even after 3 years aging. The label is colorful, which I suspect is what sells this beer.
Bad Elf is a strong English ale made with single row Cascade hops grown in the UK. Ridgeway Brewing of Oxfordshire, England makes Bad Elf in 4.5% and 6% ABV, the bottle I am reviewing is a 6%.
This beer pours clear, copper with a foamy white head that quickly reduces to nothing. The Cascade hops are evident in the taste and the bitter finish. I don’t pick up any detectible spices. It’s a good English ale, with more hops and alcohol than usual for British beer.
The elf on the label is a former elf who worked with us at the North Pole. He got into some trouble and we needed to dismiss him. I’m heartened to see that he’s put his penchence for naughtiness to a positive use.