Brews in brief

Black Sheep BreweryBlack Sheep Brewery’s Blitzen has returned, its final seasonal beer of 2016. The ruby ale is brewed with Cascade and Goldings hops plus light and dark Muscovado sugar for festive richness. Its complex, malty taste is driven by a mix of pale, crystal and pale chocolate malts, with a hint of citrus and mixed peel.

Weird Beard Brew Co launches Safe Stout (7.7% ABV), today, a chokeberry stout. “Dark, chocolatey, fruity and a touch tart,” says the brewer.

Harvest (4.8% ABV), a winter saison, is new from Errant Brewery. Warming, it’s spicy and fresh with a hint of ginger.

Fierce Beer, from Aberdeen, has joined the line-up of online retailer EeBria.

BrewDog has released this year’s brew of Hoppy Christmas, a 7.2% ABV IPA. New in bottle, however, is Casino Rye Ale, brewed to mark the brewery’s Big Bet initiative, a typically unique approach to business investment. The beer features barley and rye on the malt bill and is single-hopped with Equinox.

St Peter’s Brewery’s acclaimed alcohol-free beer, Without, is going on sale in Wholefood Market stores from the start of December. St Peter’s chief executive, Steve Magnall, said this was an exciting contract. “Wholefood Markets has a discerning customer base that recognises good quality products.”

Coventry-based Byatt’s Brewery has opened a new brewhouse at units 7 and 8 on the Lythalls Lane Industrial Estate. The venue will be open every Saturday from noon until 11pm, as well as prior to all Wasps home games from 11.30am to 2.30pm.

Forth, a marmalade ale, is the sixth in Cullercoats Brewery’s series of Shipping Forecast-inspired beers. A boatload of orange peel is added to the boil, producing a 4.1% ABV golden beer which should be available at the end of November.

Siren Craft Brew’s autumn seasonal Ryesing Tides is back, this year showcasing the Simcoe hop once again. Equinox had to be substituted last year when a shortage of Simcoe meant core range flagship IPA soundwave had to be the priority.

The Chiltern Brewery Shop is open six days a week from today, offering a selection of gift ideas. The brewery has also launched a new website

The Craft Beer Co is opening its latest bar, in Limehouse, at noon on December 7. Directly opposite Limehouse overground and DLR station, the address is 576 Commercial Road, London E14 7JD.
Silver City cans

Importer Left Coast Distribution has welcomed Silver City Brewery cans to its line-up. There are three beers — Nice Day IPA, Ridgetop Red and new seasonal lager, Sesh Appeal — from the Washington state brewer.

Lidl has teamed up with Scottish brewery Black Wolf to add a whisly beer to its Belheather range of brews. Expect flavours of caramel, tropical fruit and honey.

Long Man Inn KeeperInn Keeper (4.8% ABV) is a limited craft edition from Long Man Brewery, described as a fruity winter warmer.

English Winter (5.5% ABV) is returning from Black Country Ales after a two-year break. It’s a “well-balanced brown ale with a complex character of Concerto malt and choice Fuggles and Goldings hops,” says the brewer.

Box Steam Brewery has taken gold at the Quality Drinks Awards for its Tunnel Vision. The beer won the bitter, porter and stout category.

Cornwall brewer Verdant has been added to online retailer EeBria’s listings. Available are Lightbulb extra pale ale (4.5% ABV), Headband pale ale (5.5%), Bloom IPA (6.5%0 and Uto double black IPA (9.3%).

Thornbridge HuckHuck (7.4% ABV) is a new double IPA from Thornbridge, available in keg. Grapefruit, lychee, mango and tropical fruit notes abound.

Bengal Flare, a golden chilli beer, is Box Steam Brewery’s November special. The 4.5% ABV brew has a peppery nose and a subtle bitterness balanced with hot sweet spice.

Wadworth has rebranded its Christmas ale, Dray Bells (4.1%). The new look features an original image of the brewer’s horse-drawn dray and two of its shire horses. The beer hasn’t changed, though. The mid-amber ale is brewed using cinnamon, orange peel, all spice and nutmeg. With scents of sweet satsuma and a touch of spice, it combines pale ale, Crystal and chocolate malt with dry hops.

Infused with bay leaves, Culpeper’s Elixir (4.2% ABV) is new in cask from Durham Brewery. With a strong scent of bay and a rich smooth flavour from a very small addition of liquorice root and molasses, the beer does contain hops, but harks back to the old English pre-hop era of ale, when herbs and spices were used to flavour our alcoholic drinks. Also ready for Christmas is Imperious, an 11.6% ABV imperial Russian stout aged in oak whisky casks. “Whisky flavours and vanilla oak notes transform the beer over months of maturation,” says the brewer. “The original coffee, liquorice and brown sugar flavours are enhanced and smoothed.”

Waimea Pale Ale (4.5% ABV) is new from Big Hug Brewing. Made with Waimea (New Zealand) and Jarrylo (US) hops, the beer has tropical and citrus notes. Waimea, added a dry hop, has a new world flavour, infusing a unique fresh crushed citrus aroma and flavour with fresh tangelo, citrus fruit and pine needle characteristics.

Stella Artois has unveiled Christmas packaging for its beer, as well as a festive version of its famous chalice glass.

Shepherd Neame Christmas Ale

The 2016 vintage of Shepherd Neame’s Christmas Ale is available in bottle now and will be on cask in December. A full-bodied winter ale featuring a warming combination of fruits and spices, it blends pale and crystal malts with Target and Challenger hops for bitterness, and Goldings hops for aroma. The bottled version is 7% ABV and the cask version 5.6%.

Redemption Brewing Co — maker of two of my favourite beers, Trinity (a 3% ABV full flavoured session bitter) and bold New Zeealand hopped Big Chief IPA (5.5%) — is now listed at EeBria.