Festive ale taste test

Christmas is the perfect excuse for breweries to create some special ales to help people celebrate. In general Christmas beers are deep, dark and on occasion packed with Christmassy flavours. This taste test involves four Christmas beer contenders. There are no winners or losers just four good beers to choose from.


Tannerbaum (6%) – Compass Brewery

With hints of Cotswold Spuce, this festive ale is probably the most out there of the four tasted beers. A dark ruby beer that will get the taste buds going. There is a bit of a flavour journey with Tannerbaum, starting with sweet barley notes before a satisfying hoppy bite tickles the side of the tongue. Now I’m not entirely sure what spruce tastes like so not sure whether the spruce added to the bitter bite, but something did. I’ve not tasted any beer like this, so definitely an original flavour profile. Compass Brewery gets another thumbs up from me.

Hook Norton (5%) - Twelve Days

A malty and hoppy treat of a beer. Twelve Days didn’t really remind me of Christmas per se (well the name obviously did) but it had all the right elements for a good winter beer. On the bottle it suggested this would be a good beer for cheese. Whilst tasting, I is was chomping on a curry and it was a great accompaniment. So, on Boxing day, I recommend you have a bottle of Hook Norton’s Twelve days with your leftover turkey curry.

Ding Dong (4.5%) – Stroud Brewery

Ding Dong ‘Ding Dong’ this is an original flavoured Christmas beer. Throw away the vin chaud and the mulled cider, who needs them when you have organic mulled porter. I don’t always believe the things I should taste and smell when they are written on the side of the bottle. But, I have to say, it said I would smell cola nuts and I did. Stroud Brewery have done a good job at creating a beer that really does remind me of Christmas. The other bonus at 4.5% this beer is of a good strength to have a couple whilst watching the Queen’s speech.

Festivity (5.0%) – Bath Ales

Alright Bath Ales aren’t quite the Cotwolds, but I always enjoy their ales and they do have a fantastic little pub in Oxford (The Grapes). Festivity is a very dark beer that has a satisfying pour as it glides down the glass. With its malty and chocolaty flavours this an ideal drop for a cold wintery day.