Christmas beers are more than just modern marketing, dating back at least into the 1600s
The Christmas ale. The jolly, warming, merrymaking Christmas ale. Is that the sound of Silent Night being sung by a choir outside?
Or perhaps Christmas beers are just another regular beer with some cinnamon flavouring thrown in as a not-so-subtle marketing ploy, and a vaguely smart pun for a name. Pumpkin ales are divisive, and so can the Christmas ale. But should this seasonal beer also be thrown into Room 101 along with plastic mistletoe and the Furby (sorry, I mean, Hatchimal).
Perhaps first we should look at the ghosts of Christmas past to see what they were drinking… [wavy editing affect here].
According to the Oxford Companion to Beer, lambswool was one of the first Christmas ales, a frankly lovely sounding blend of roasted apples, nutmeg, ginger and honey all warmed with an ale. The name may come from the frothy head or a corruption of ‘lamasool’ – the Day of the Apple Fruit. Robert Herrick wrote in Twelfth Night, a Christmas poem from 1648:
Next crown a bowl fullWith gentle lamb’s wool :Add sugar, nutmeg, and ginger,With store of ale too ;And thus ye must doTo make the wassail a swinger. Swinger, we presume, had a different meaning today. Maybe. Anyhoo, this special seasonal spicing of ale probably dates back much further. In fact, it’s the addition of spices that perhaps is one of the only attributes that ties together a vast variety of Christmas beer.That said, Christmas ales tend to be strong ales, barley wines and old ales that are generally stronger. Common ingredients include those associated with Christmas such as cinnamon, orange, cloves and honey. Also notable is that they are available in all the major beer drinking cultures. Britain, Germany and, of course, Belgium all have a tradition of making Christmas beers.
So on that festive note... we wish you all a very, merry Christmas.
Father’s Day, 19th June 2022, is the special date in the calendar when we celebrate and give a nod to the Dads in our lives. It’s an excuse to spoil them with a little something to say thank you for being awesome. If you’re looking for inspiration for a craft beer-loving Dad, then check out our top 7 Father’s Day beer gifts.
Every year, Beer Hawk releases a lineup of limited edition craft beer mixed cases for the holiday season. This year's lineup of festive Christmas beer gifts is guaranteed to put a smile on everyone’s face.
Remember the childhood excitement of opening a new door on your advent calendar every day in the run up to Christmas? It gave each day a little sparkle of festive magic, even though those tiny chocolates behind the doors were always a bit rubbish. How would you like to recapture that childhood magic, but with bottles of delicious beer instead of powdery chocolate? Sounds amazing, right? In that case, you need to get your hands on our Craft Beer Advent Calendar.
Pairing beer and food together isn’t all rules and science. That would make for a terribly boring dinner party! Instead, it’s the art of taking a good beer, some good food and partnering them together to make something even better. It’s the adventure of discovering what works, what doesn’t and what you like. It’s you taking a bite, taking a sip and then declaring your undying love for that imperial stout and chocolate cake.
Barrel-ageing beers is not a new thing, but it is getting more and more popular, and has probably never been as inventive. Adrian Tierney-Jones explores the new wave of ageing beer in wood
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