Today is St. Andrew's Day in Scotland, as well as the last day before December rears its white bearded and red-capped head in this part of the world. To tie both occasions to a single beer I've gone for a Scottish Christmas beer, from none other than the Ellon boys themselves.
Hoppy Christmas is just a pale ale, and for that I'm grateful. Halloween is only just gone and I still have the memory of questionably spiced 'pumpkin' ales on my taste buds, so at this early juncture I'm glad not to be venturing into those murky waters again. Not that it will stop me from buying spiced Christmas ales in the weeks to come, but I'll at least be more ruthless in my selection process this time around.
The nose of Hoppy Christmas is flippin' gorgeous. Bucket loads of tropical mango, grapefruit and pineapple with a hint of pine and honey in the background. Like many potent pale ales and IPAs, there is a good biscuity malt backbone, but it doesn't add any thick toffee or caramel into the mix, allowing the hops to stand largely on their own. The taste has the same hop-forwardness with juicy, oily tropical fruit and bitter, pithy, piney herbal notes making up most of the profile, with the sweet malt turning buttery early on. It's an absolutely delicious beer, one that I'd love to see more of over the Christmas break. Get it at Bradleys, and gaze longingly at their beer, beer books, beer glasses, beer signs, even beer shirts. And then buy me some.
Buy me some.