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 is a very good thing. It has dark fruit, raisins, fruit cake, all lending a rich and complex flavor to this beer. The finish is bitter with warmth of the 7.5% ABV coming through.
It’s made with Pale Ale malts, Crystal malts and oats. As a barleywine it’s heavily hopped with Fuggle and Golding hops and dry hopped with Progress. It comes in at about 45 IBU.
Harvey & Sons ties to the local area is quite extensive. During the 6-week fermentation process, Harvey’s Christmas Ale was even blessed by a local priest, Father Toby Sims.
Finally, after tasting so many UK Christmas beers with kitsch labels and sickly-sweet flavor, here’s an ale that is worthy of the UK and Christmas. Cheers!