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Rise of real ale at Xmas celebrated in east lancashire
2:00pm Saturday 21st December 2013 in News
THE rise of the real ale market in recent years has given discerning beer drinkers an endless choice when it comes to their choice of tipple. Reporter Dan Clough looked into what brewers across East Lancashire had in store for the Christmas period.
IF all you want for Christmas is a good pint of real ale, you’re in the right place.
East Lancashire has become a real hotbed of top quality real ales in recent years.
Long-established brewing traditions of Thwaites in Blackburn and Moorhouse’s in Burnley have been joined by a plethora of micro-breweries opening up throughout the area.
And many of these have been working on some festive specials to get people in the mood to celebrate Christmas.
Burnley’s Moorhouse’s, in existence since 1865, offers three festive ales this year.
Its long-running Lap Prancer returns and is also joined by 4.3 per cent Ice Witch, trialled for the first time last year and described as a ‘light golden tipple with easy drinking bitterness’ and, for those with a darker pallete, the four per cent Elves Bells, which utilises the maris otter hops to give hints of biscuit and caramel.
Managing director David Grant said: “When Lap Prancer appears on the bar it kicks off the festivities for many pubs, providing some tasty fun for the season.
“It is a rich and fruity ale that hits the spot for a satisfying pint, but still at moderate strength to sustain those jolly festive evenings.”
And Thwaites, based in Penny Street, has brought a new ale, ‘Yule Love It’, to the market, as well as its annual ‘Good Elf’.
Ian Bearpark, production and distribution director at Thwaites, said: “Yule Love It is a beer to drink at Christmas, rather than a ‘Christmas beer’.
“We make a classic cinnamon and clove beer called Good Elf, which tastes like Christmas in a glass, but drinkers will find Yule Love It a bit more refreshing.”
Among other festive tipples are In Darwen, Hopstar has launched four per cent Hoppy Christmas and Smokey Joe’s Winter Warmer, a 4.5 per cent take on the brewery’s award-winning Smokey Joe’s that includes an extra drop of rum.
Burnley’s Reedley Hallows produced Christmas special Prancer’s Secret Ale, a four per cent amber fruity beer that has already sold out and is available in pubs across the region.
Three Bs, based at The Black Bull in Brokenstone Road, near Tockholes, has Santa’s Skinful (four per cent) and will launch Happy New Beer (3.7 per cent) on Boxing Day, as well as a special stronger drop called Old Bee-culiar, which at 5.8 per cent will only be sold in halves.
And Nick Whittaker from Worsthorne Brewing Co has just sold his last two casks of Santa’s Special, a four per cent lightly bittered beer with hints of orange and ginger.
PANEL Moorhouse’s Lap Prancer (4.2 per cent) Lap Prancer is the Burnley brewery’s traditional seasonal offering and is universally well-liked.
It is quite malty, with fruity notes, and is a perfectly okay pint.
Should be enough to get you in the festive spirit.
Thwaites’ Good Elf (4.3 per cent) Another annual ale brought out by Thwaites every Christmas, Good Elf is like a liquid Christmas pudding.
Its cinnamonny flavour makes it perfect to enjoy over Christmas.
The sweetness of this darker ale mean it should be enjoyed at the end of an enjoyable Christmas dinner.
Moorhouse’s Ice Witch (4.3 per cent) It has to be said that Ice Witch is my kind of beer, It is a tasty pale ale, with strong citrus flavours.
Extremely refreshing and one could easily lead to another.
Thwaites’ Yule Love It (four per cent) Described as a ‘magically festive brew’, this is another tip-top seasonal special from Thwaites’ Crafty Dan craft brewery.
Unlike Good Elf, this ale doesn’t really reflect Christmas in the same way the brewery’s annual tipple does.
But it is still a tasty, sharp and refreshing beer, which would probably be drinkable by those more accustomed to lager.
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