Mordue Brewery Howay in a Manger
You could call this a repeat entry. But because this was on last year's 'Beers of Christmas' doesn't mean this can't open this year's 'Geordie beers of Christmas'. As you have probably guessed I have changed the concept slightly this year. Only beers local to the North East will be featured, not all of them seasonal.
Obviously this makes things a bit harder beer-hunting wise and, obviously, I have doubts on being able to pull out my dream line-up of beers. Certain restrictions, such as the more limited spare time I have these days and trying to get in the right place at the right time, come into play. But the twelve Geordie beers of Christmas is about the diversity of the local scene. It's the scene I (in a sense) grew up on, the scene I know the best, I'm most passionate about and the scene from which Rob's Beer Quest has evolved.
Here at Mordue we have often been given the label of 'stalwarts' of the local scene. An early pioneer of the 'real ale revolution', the Wallsend-based Mordue Brewery grafted through the ages, its name becoming synomous with Geordie-themed pump clips and the two Fawson brothers taking the champion beer of Britain award.
Nearly twenty years on and the focus hasn't changed but things have moved on, staff, equipment, a more diverse product range and an in-house bottling machine add to the fun. Alongside numerous awards at local and national levels and a continued drive to be one the best in North East, and remain in the spotlight.
Nonetheless the first Geordie beer of Christmas is a seasonal that's been a round a good number of years. Howay in a Manger is a 4.3% amber-hued ale featuring Amarillo and Styrian golding hops. A simple beer with a habit of outselling its predicted demand (which often leads to a short period of panic before an emergency batch is dealt with at short notice).
Pleasant sweet almond, caramelised malt and subtle, lingering citric notes bring a nice drinkability to it. As I said last year, Howay buy a bottle! Buy a case! Howay try it down the pub as well!