Christmas can only mean one thing and no, it’s not itchy knitted jumpers or pretending to love a present from a distant relative that you actually hate. It means it’s that time of year when you can get your hands on festively punny and delightfully fruity Christmas ales, usually featuring the big man in the red suit on the front.
With that in mind, here’s a list of 12 ales from the breweries of Wales, made especially for the most wonderful time of the year.
1. Cwrw Santa-Tomos Watkin
The Swansea based brewer is renowned for naming their beers after family members, which makes you wonder whether they are a distant relative of Santa himself.
Brewed with pale chocolate and crystal malts, mixed with a blend of golding and fuggle hops, this dark ale is aromatic with a bitter end. Just like Christmas if you don’t get what you wished for.
2. Santa’s Tipple-Evan Evans
As a kid I used to leave milk out for Father Christmas but maybe I should of left this spicy amber beer out instead for him to sip on whilst he delivered all of my presents. Then again, I doubt he’s allowed to drink and fly his sleigh, so maybe milk was the right choice of beverage.
3. Santa’s Beard-Brains
Blending five different malts with roasted barley, this dark beer tastes of ‘caramel, burnt toffee and roast coffee.’
Brains say it perfectly compliments aged cheese or chocolate puddings which make it perfect to crack open after you’ve scoffed down your Christmas bird.
4. Cwrw-istmas Beacons-Brecon Brewing
Leaving a taste of Christmas fruits and spices in your mouth means that it really is Cwrw-istmas, or beer-mas for all you non-Welsh speakers.
Brewed using dried fruits, dark sugars, vanilla and spices, this chestnut coloured beer is like drinking a blended Christmas pudding (without the lumps of course).
5. Ginger Bells-Gwaun Valley Brewery
Brewed in a traditional farmhouse brewery near Fishguard, Ginger Bells unsurprisingly tastes like, yup you guessed it, ginger. The artwork on the label is inspired by the stain glass windows by the farm and the water colour is painted by Sarah who runs the brewery along with her husband Len.
6. Winter Cheer-Tudor
The unique flavour of Tudor’s winter ale is derived from infusing cinnamon, ginger, lemon rind, honey and ‘a secret blend of spice’ thus making it sound like the KFC of Christmas ales.
7. Holly Daze-Vale of Glamorgan Brewery
Doubly punny (Holly as in the prickly Christmas leaf, as well as ‘Holidays’ in case you didn’t twig), this strong beer is smooth with a hint of chocolate.
8. Ding Dong-Monty’s Brewery
Brewed in Mid Wales this award winning ale is made with champagne yeast to give a ‘golden dry taste.’
Otley’s beers have the tendency to be named with a ‘O’ sound and as such, O-HO-HO is the perfect name for their Christmas beer.
Brewed with blueberries to give a sweet taste it leaves behind a slight hint of mince pies on the tongue.
10. Hoppy Christmas-Preseli Brewery
Another deliciously fruity dark ale brewed with blackcurrant to leave a fruity tingle in your mouth after initial spicy tones.
11. Merry X-Moose-Purple Moose
Perhaps a reindeer may have been a better festive fit but I guess a moose was a more favourable animal for the Purple Moose brewers.
A ruby coloured ale made with both dark malts and aromatic hops to give a ‘full flavour’ with a ‘subtle bitterness.’
12. Hoppy Wheat Xmas-Pixie Spring Brewery
Both wheat-y and citrus-y it is described as a ‘unique taste experience,’ from the little Chrismast pixies at Pixie Spring Brewery… so much better than elves. Elves make toys, Pixies make beer.
What’s your favourite festive beer? Let us know and send in pics and reviews to email@example.com or tweet @thegrillbarrel