There doesn’t seem to be too many seasonal ales to find in the local stores and outlets; certainly when compared to the seasonal ales you find in a lot of US stores the selection is comparatively pitiful. For this one I had to visit the brewery store itself…
Shepherd Neame – Christmas Ale; 7% abv
Aroma: plenty of delicious fruity aromas – raisins, currants, sultanas, infused with seasonal spices; hints of malt
Appearance: clear dark brown, plenty of evident carbonation; frothy tan head
Taste: hops and spices come to the fore, alcohol is quite strong and seems to dominate the taste.
Finish: moderate bitterness, quite a dry finish;full alcohol takes over the mouth.
Bottled version is 7% abv, cask version is 5% abv. My feeling is that the cask version would be far superior to the bottled in that the flavours would be allowed to come out more rather than the heavier alcohol taking over the whole mouth. I was a bit disappointed that the taste didn’t include the fruity elements from the aroma. That said I couldn’t find any cask versions where I live, so I guess its back to the brewery’s pub.
|Website – Shepherd Neame|