We ask Sussex brewers what seasonal beers they are hoping to find in their stockings and share any Xmas specials they are running
With so many seasonal beers doing the rounds this time of year, we decided to go straight to the source and find out what the people in the brewing biz drink while their turkey is roasting
We kick off with Lesley Foulkes, co-owner of Langham Brewery in idyllic rural West Sussex, who favours another West Sussex creation…
Premier winter ale…hummm. Since you visited last Autumn we have been joined by Fran Weston, former Head Brewer at Ballards [now amalgamated into Greyhound Brewery], and he created one of my very best winter ales called Wassail. It’s a 6% ESB Reddish brown ale with creamy off-white head, sweet and rich. Dried winter fruits (dates, sultanas, figs) not overpowering with rich maltiness, winter heavy but refreshing with a tangy bite on the finish.
We aren’t brewing the same but, we’ve got a fab seasonal Christmas Cracker of a beer. It’s a winter warmer, 4.6%, a deep-roasted complex malty brew with a festive ruby red glow. The toffee-chocolate taste and aroma are complemented by Pilgrim, Minstrel and a blend of other English traditional hops to give a perfect seasonal fruity berry spiciness.
We’re also doing special brews of Aegir, our truly traditional, dark, smooth, rich, malty-sweet, smouldering, smoked Baltic Porter AT 7.5%, and premium special bitter, 5.2% LSD, an auburn beer with rich complex flavours and a deep red glow. Both will be ready for December.
Lesley would like to let folk know that if they join the GULP club (which is free) they’ll get 10% off the beer of the month and 5% off all other takeaways from the brewery tap which opened in 2021.
Plus the brewery tap is open Christmas Day between 11.30 and 2. So, while the turkey’s cooking it’s the perfect getaway if you fancy an Xmas day drive in West Sussex. Head over the GULP page of their website for more info.
Next up we head to Hepworth Brewery where Ed Wray, Assistant Head Brewer likes his beers to sound as Christmas themed as they taste
Having four breweries on the site we make a lot of Xmas beers here. Ridgeway in particular do a wide range and my favourites of them are Very Bad Elf and Lump of Coal.
My overall favourite of the Xmas beers is one of our own though, Noel. It is a little disturbing to see that the beer I like most from here are all about 7.5% ABV. I mostly stick to session bitter in the pub nowadays! The Noel is just really nice. It was changed for the latest batch so it’s now a cranked up version of our Old Ale and it just tastes great. I’m quite partial to the Old as it is but the stronger version is even better, the rich flavours from the chocolate and crystal malts really coming through to make something ideal for a cold Winter’s night. I’ll be making sure I get a case of that for the festive season!
Our big promotion at the moment is our free beer for a year competition which you can enter online FREE BEER – Hepworth Brewery.
Our brewery shop [in Pulborough] is also staying open late on Thursdays and the bar will also be open with food available too. You can purchase our beers from Middle Farm in Lewes. We do free delivery to Brighton but it’s a minimum of two cases.
In Brighton now and Gary Sillence of Brighton Bier needs a little bit of Xmas magic to source his favourite beer each year..
My favourite festive brew is Frosted Frog Christmas Ale from Hoppin’ Frog Brewery in Akron, Ohio.
Established in 2006 Hoppin’ Frog make some of the biggest and best dark beers on the planet and over the years I’ve been fortunate enough to source a few bottles of this epic beer via friends or on Winter visits to North America.
True to form Frosted Frog packs a hefty 8.6% ABV in a super balanced, malt forward strong brown ale. The addition of blended spices add a subtle seasonal twist without overpowering the base beer. Highly recommended…if you can find it.
Brighton Bier are offering 15% off their beers in a advent calendar style 12 beer case, including; CYCLOPS EYEDROPS, OLD SKOOL, DOUBLE BIER, DEJA VU (ALL OVER AGAIN), SMALL TOWN ANTHEM and ONE TIME FELON (MOSAIC). Use discount code XMAS to get 15% discount on the mixed case (or quite frankly anything else you fancy buying).
Tom O’Neil, Head of Sales @ Long Man Brewery only has eyes for a Long Man beer at Christmas…
Our Christmas seasonal beer is an old favourite that has made a Christmas Long Man appearance for the last 5 years, Inn Keeper 4.8%, a Fruity Winter Warmer.
‘A fruity winter ale with a deep red hue and delicious, warming flavours from a blend of five speciality German and Belgian malts. These are joined by a carefully chosen blend of UK and US hops to provide further fruity overtones and a balancing bitterness.’
This is one of our top selling seasonal beers in cask and mini cask (although we’ve already sold out of our full stock of mini casks for this year!). For me it’s a sensation of Christmassy flavours in a glass. A complex, biscuity malt profile and winter fruit flavours really bring out the festive feeling.
Right now, shop online or in store with us this Christmas and receive a free gift, merchandise, local wine and local gin all available as a free gift when you spend over different amounts. Our brewery shop [in Litlington], is open 7 days a week right up to Christmas Eve and is packed with local produce and gift ideas.
and finally, Bedlam Brewery who possibly were drinking when they read my email, as instead they sent us their staff Christmas wish list.. 😂 cheers Bedlam 🍻
Time Off – because it’s well deserved
Sherry – because it takes the edge off the family banter
It’s a Port for Clark who only drinks it at Christmas with a cigar
Shaz loves the Christmas Cocktail at The Argyle Arms in Brighton; Cinammon,
Apple, Maple Syrup and Rum with a lovely, cosy Chesterfield next to an open
fire with a Christmas Tree! (her arty photos are below)
Lee – he’s off on paternity leave! He’s just had a little boy, but I guess he’ll be on the strong Porters this year!
Huge congrats from BBB to Lee on his special Xmas gift this year.