Name – Rosey Nosey
Brewer – Batemans
Classification – 'Seasonal' beer.
Strength – 4.9% ABV
Verdict - At A Glance
On the eye – Red and brown, each in their warmest of moods.
On the nose – Rampant caramelised fruits.
On the tongue – Tree bark, cinnamon and sandalwood. Nice, though!
On the subject – A drive to the Lincolnshire coast from the Midlands will illustrate the expansion-hunger of this nascent brewing giant. Every other pub is a Batemans pub. They do brew good ale and, given the rate of their growth, lets hope they manage to remember how.
On the market – All major supermarkets and beyond.
On the whole – 6.5/10
Although they don't refer to him by name, it's a pretty safe bet that the flush-faced old gent gazing out from the label of this beer is none other than Father Christmas himself.
And, to be perfectly frank, this particular Saint Nick looks like he's already sunk a few.
As you will have deduced – yes, this is the second 'festive offering' that I've tinkered with so far, chiefly because I feared I might seem like a miserable, Scrooge-like so-and-so if I didn't at least appear to enter into 'the spirit'.
My problem is - that it often seems like brewers have also entered into a few 'spirits' before they begin work on their inevitable Xmas 'specials'.
Far too many of these 'novelty' ales feel like their recipe was agreed on after a seven hour session at a nearby inn, rather than the more customary method of doing this kind of work before such visits.
Bateman's of Lincolnshire have a fine tradition of excellence and, after many recent supermarket deals, many of you will be aware of their excellent beers such as 'Victory Ale' and 'Dark Lord'. So, with a strong track record, you would think these guys could be relied upon to at least stay semi-sober before assembling together to dream up a Christmas Beer.
And, I'm happy to say, you'd actually be right to think that.
This is an impressively level-headed attempt to invest something unquestionably 'seasonal' into a beer, without making it into a party piece or a gimmick.
Don't get me wrong, this is not the most benevolent Santa around, he's actually pretty bitter, and maybe he needs a touch of counselling to bring back that warmth and generosity. At times, he's even a little bit tart for your average bringer of joy.
Having said that, if I'd just traversed the globe in a single night, delivering gifts to almost every human on the planet, I can hardly imagine a better drink to be waiting for me back in chilly Lapland.
But, much like Father C, this is the sort of beer you enjoy the company of just once in a while, knowing that you might not want to overdo it and spoil the fun. It's the sort of beer whose 'fun' you won't want to go taking advantage of.
That 'fun' though, while it lasts, is really quite enjoyable.
In fact, I could even stretch that a little bit further and claim that this beer is just ever so slightly magical... if only in that 'once a year' kind of way.