The approaching Christmas festivities are the ideal time for breweries to release one-off, strong, wintry beers – and these new beers run the gamut from low-alcohol to big-time abvs
Brian, Black Sheep Brewery
North Yorkshire-based brewery Black Sheep has announced that its Monty Python-inspired pale ale is back. Aptly named Brian, it was created in 2016 in homage to Monty Python’s classic film Life of Brian. The iconic British comedy narrates the events around Brian of Nazareth, who born next door to Jesus spends his life being mistaken for the Messiah.
This brew was created in collaboration with Monty Python's Michael Palin himself, who had a hand in putting the recipe together.
Well balanced, Brian has a crisp citric character and a spicy hop bitterness. It will be available across the on-trade until late December.
3.9%, POA, Black Sheep Brewery, 01765 689 227
Beer 2018, Camden Town Brewery
Camden Town Brewery is also going seasonal with its Beer 2018 release. Following on from last year’s Beer 2017, the 2018 edition is designed to appeal to beer enthusiasts and cocktails lovers alike, taking inspiration from both a classic German pilsener and the flavours of an Old Fashioned.
The use of Mandarina Bavaria hops gives the beer a peculiar orange peel character, which is then rounded off by six months of ageing in bourbon barrels. The palate is spicy, citrusy and rich, and shows the characteristic hoppy finish of a German pilsner.
The bottle was illustrated by London-based artist Alice Bowsher.
10%, £7.99/50cl, Beer Hawk, 01423 525750
Old Speckled Hen Low Alcohol
The festive season doesn’t need to be all about high abv drinks, and Greene King has released a low-alcohol version of their famed Old Speckled Hen to satisfy drinkers who want to do without the booze.
The beer echoes the malty notes characteristic of its higher-abv cousin, with aromas of caramel and toffee given by the use of Pale and Crystal malts in the recipe.
Challenger, First Gold and Goldings hops balance out the brew with a refreshing herbaceous finish.
0.5%, POA, Greene King, 07974132040