Drinking a Christmas beer at the end of a warm sunny day is weird. I'm not at all a believer that any particular style of beer belongs at any particular time of the year but the rich plumminess of Hook Norton's Twelve Days really surprised me: this stuff tastes like winter.
It's only 5.5% ABV but could pass for a lot more. There's a warmth and a spice to it which, alongside the full smooth texture, is almost reminiscent of Belgian dubbel. The nose is chocolate and figs, with quite a bitter oranges-and-lemons foretaste, settling on the finish into sweet plums and buttery toffee. Just a minor imperfection appears at the very end, when a metallic note creeps in -- but it's not there on every mouthful and it's quite possible you won't spot it at all.
If you can get over the whole winter-beer-in-spring thing, I'd recommend this for immediate drinking, if you see it. Otherwise, it's only eight months until the festive season is upon us once more: write your cards and order your turkey while you wait.
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3 weeks ago