Today’s beer is the venerable Harvey’s Christmas Ale from Lewes, England. Harvey & Son (the brewery) dates back to the late eighteenth century, and their Christmas Ale has been brewed seasonally for over a quarter of a century and started winning awards in 1992.
It’s a dark Barleywine that is, according to the brewery, reminiscent of the Stock Ales of England of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries—and indeed the beer goes through an extended period of dry-hopping and cold storage before being bottled. At 8.1% abv, you could even put a few bottles away to age and enjoy next Christmas.
I should point out that I love the label as well: in a time when many breweries put gaudy, busy labels on their bottles, there’s something about the simple red and white imagery of Father Christmas (as Santa Claus is known in England) that is charming and nostalgic, like something you would find in Victorian England accompanying a Christmas Eve reading of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas and A Christmas Carol.
And the beer is pretty good, too!