Beery Advent Calendar #6

UK bottled 'Christmas' beers all to often follow a weary formula. Take an average bitter, swamp it with old spices, give it a daft name and cheesy label, don't worry about proper carbonation and conditioning because it'll either be drank before the Queen's Speech or shoved in the back of a cupboard. So when a brewer actually makes an effort to brew something tasty and interesting, they deserve applauding.

Tonight's advent beer is Christmas Crack from Humpty Dumpty. I've been drinking it for about ten minutes yet I still can't quite nail down why it works so well. It's got some weight behind it - 7% abv - but it doesn't taste boozy. There's plenty of clean caramel and a touch of chocolate but it's never chewy. A thread of resinous hops pricks its way across the palate but in needlepoint, not clumsy running-stitch.

Now I've nailed it. Everything about the beer is turned up a notch - big flavours, full mouthfeel and so on - and everything is complimentary. The result is an effortlessly easy-drinking beer that goes to show a Christmas beer doesn't have to be wishy-washy spicy. It just has to be tasty...

And the label? I think it's actually quite funny. But only just...

If you're able to get over to Reedham in the Norfolk Broads this weekend, you'll have the chance to try it on cask. Humpty Dumpty have an open weekend on December 11th and 12th between noon and five, with plenty of other draught beers to try as well as their bottles to buy. All the details can be found on their website.

Tonight's gift: why all pinball fans owe a debt of gratitude to Humpty Dumpty

Tonight's picture: Reedham in the winter. I'd love to see the snow down there, although Mrs Scoop probably wouldn't fancy driving across the icy Broads.