Morocco Ale is a beautiful way to sink into Christmas eve. Like liquid ginger cake in a glass it is a 5.5%, rich russet amber and arguably one of the most festive beers in the world, that isn't a seasonally released beer. Aside from timeless classics, Christmas eve in this household is traditionally the night for cheese. This year it would be mostly Yorkshire cheeses and the headline beer for the cheeseboard job was Sam Smith's Yorkshire Stingo. A big boozy 8% heavy weight with lots of dried fruit and subtle oak, it did a fair job as an all round cheese board complement.
A bigger highlight was the pairing of Daleside Blonde with traditional Wensleydale. Floral citrus top notes and subtle carbonation lift into it beautifully whilst the smooth malt backbone finds an intricate union with Wensleydale's mild creaminess. By far the best beer match for Wensleydale I have ever come across in its cask-conditioned form. Another local offering, Harrogate Blue, is a bold creamy rich blue cheese and a great pairing for Daleside Monkey Wrench with its big boozy caramel malts that just wrap around it. Doesn't that sound beautiful? Actually I'll answer that question, it would be very beautiful.
That aside Christmas day as usual was wrapping paper carnage everywhere. Again this year we had some good presents. Susie got her keyboard and Harvey got his Bat-bot and Black Panther costume. Thus meaning he now has virtually every super hero costume in the book. Except maybe Ant Man, Burnt Face Man and Ben Stokes. I got a gun that fires bottle caps.
Durham Etienne Brut IPA is a great pre-Christmas dinner appetiser. It's dry and quaffable for its 6% abv and all peaches and pears. A really lovely beer with some Belgian influence though not as aggressively hoppy as some takes on the style. Admittedly I did vow to drink Santa's Progress with Christmas dinner this year but went with Daleside Greengrass Old Rogue Ale instead. In my recollection of beer blogging, the subject of pairing beer with Christmas dinner has never really been pinned down. It's not worth overthinking.
|Black Panther, in pajamas|
Overall our first Christmas in Harrogate went rather well. Unlike the old days when Christmas was more an extended celebration of Belgian strong ales served in elaborate glassware followed by passing out in front of Wallace and Gromit. This year was a great family experience, which also featured beer.