Christmas Beers have long been a favourite in Europe. Beers such as Belgium’s Bush Noel, Denmark’s Carlsberg’s Christmas Beer, Germany’s Mahr’s Christmas Bock, France’s Jenlain Biere de Noel and of course England’s examples, such as Harvey’s Christmas Ale, Fuller’s Old Winter Ale or maybe even a Rudolph’s Revenge or Seriously Bad Elf! Another old favourite is Young’s Christmas Pudding Ale.
A Brief History
For centuries brewing has had close connections with religion and brewers would produce special tipples for the seasonal celebrations. This tradition still goes on today with many breweries producing a special beer for the Christmas season.
Here in Britain, with the exception of lagers of course, our favourite beers are real ales. These beers are naturally carbonated in the vessels from which they are served, be it a bottle or barrel, with a little extra sugar being added just before fermentation is completed.
The sealed container holds the carbon dioxide produced by the remaining fermentation, which is then re-absorbed by the beer, giving it that lighter carbonation common to real ales. In the case of bottled beers, they are stored cold and gravity pulls the suspended yeast to the bottom of the bottle leaving a clear beer. Cask beer is however fined using isinglass and so is less suitable for shipping long distances.
Therefore because real ale contains active yeast, it must be kept well, meaning that real ale tastes better when consumed closer to where it was made, for example, Harvey’s in Sussex and so on.
Brew Your Own Christmas beer
There are quite a few beer kits on the market now which are capable of producing some excellent Christmas beers and if made in good time, you will have a good supply ready for the festive season, will save yourself quite a few quid and you will still be able to enjoy a Christmas beer even if you are snowed in.
They also make great Christmas gifts for the home-brewer in your life. A seasonal gift which can be enjoyed all year round.
See the range available now at Home Brew Online