In the run-up to another quieter than normal Christmas because of Covid, I picked up a box of seasonal beers from local bar and bottle shop Heaton Hops, a few of which I hadn't drunk before in either cask or bottled form.
Anchor Our Special Ale
San Francisco's Anchor Brewery release a different version of this strong ale every festive season and it's got a Christmas cake spicy fruitiness that feels very appropriate amidst the tinsel and holly.
A Scotch ale relocated to Belgium by famed importer John Martin, this reddish brown beer has a candy fruitiness that reminded me of a Burton ale, especially the recreated Fuller's XX. Definitely my favourite of all the beers in the box.
Harvey's Imperial Extra Double Stout
Based on the strong dark beer bottled and exported from London to the Russian Empire via the Baltic by Albert Le Coq in the nineteenth century, and later produced at the Tartu brewery in what is now Estonia that still bears his name, this jet black stout has a leathery aroma with a hint of dates and a vinous taste not unlike that of Robinson's Old Tom.