Advent Calendars are not just for kids, is the message from Master of Malt, who have two adult-orientated calendars this year: one of whisky and one of gin. Their whisky advent calendar, with 3cl of a surprise whisky behind each door, is a touch pricey at £175, so I thought I’d put together a cheap version: 24 days, 24 of the best malt-based beverages I’ve had tried this year.
It will cost you nothing to look, is non-fattening, and contains no units of alcohol – unless of course you manage to buy a sample for yourself.
And so, in no particular order, except perhaps for Christmas Eve…
Day 1: Summer Wine Brewery, Rouge-Hop. 5.0% ABV.
From: Yorkshire. England. Type: Cask red ale. Source: Euston Tap, London
I have come to expect great beers at the Euston Tap. I have come to expect great beers from Summer Wine, but sometimes, even with the weight of expectation, beer has the power to surprise. I took one sip of this red ale, and thought, “This is why I drink beer”.
Masses of rich, mouth-filling malt body and layers of malt flavours tied up in a heady, fruity mix of American hops and more malt. I think, sometimes, it’s a beer writer’s cop-out to put “complex”, but this had me mesmerised. For days, I even thought it was called Rogue Hop.
Available as cask if you can find it, and in 330ml bottles from the Summer Wine Brewery online store.
If you’re feeling flush, here’s Master of Malt’s Whisky Advent Calendar.