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Seeing stars in a glass half full

By Fergus Fitzgerald, also posted in News on

Adnams Brewer Fergus FitzgeraldI went to see Professor Brian Cox recently, not for tea and chat, no, he was doing a tour and one of the dates was in Ipswich, so along with my wife and son, we went to see what he had to say about life, the universe, and everything. If you want to feel fragile and infinitely small I highly recommend it. I should add that it's countered by a forceful amount of wonder and awe to stop you collapsing in on yourself. There was also some news recently that optimists are usually healthier. The actual terminology was they had a 'lower death risk' so it depends on whether you class death as being the maximum level of unhealthy. Anyway, these two unrelated things had me thinking about my attitude to the aforementioned life, universe, and everything. Although I am often described as an optimist, I don’t often see myself as such. I would probably say I suffer from a peculiar Irish sort of melancholy, which is a completely fictional state of being but serves a purpose, so I’ll ignore that for now. Essentially, I think it means that I acknowledge that the universe is full of darkness and sorrow and while I do enjoy spending time staring into the emptiness, I decide to spend most of my time looking for the stars rather than the spaces between. That’s probably an odd way to start a blog about what I’m going to drink this Christmas, but the beers below are what will be lighting my way this season. I should add the proviso that I don’t actually make a plan of what to drink and when. However, I have several beers at home that I’ve been saving and I fully intend to drink them over the festivities. So, in no particular order, here is what I will probably drink somewhere between the point at which I finish writing this and another point in the future.

6 degrees northA6

A collaboration we did with Six degrees North from Aberdeen earlier this year, a Belgian-style imperial stout aged in Spirit of Broadside oak barrels. I bought a few cases when it came out and I fully intend on opening another bottle this Christmas. I'll probably save it for a cold night by an open fire and let its rich darkness wash over me. It has everything I want from an imperial stout. If you aren't sure what you would want from one, don't worry, this is it. This has Christmas day at home written large on it.

Days of CreationDays of Creation

A sour red ale from Thornbridge. I have a particular affliction for sour beers and Thornbridge have made a couple of great sours in the last year, this one is made with raspberries. Fruit, tart and dry, a lovely beer to trifle with, although I suspect I’ll be drinking this alone.

Burning Sky brewery logoMonolith

A sour black beer from Burning Sky. I haven’t tried this beer before so I can’t tell you much about it except it’s made by a great brewer and it’s been sat on my beer shelf for too long. I’ll save this for drinking with friends. I try not to waffle about beer too much, but I do like to give them something new to try.

Fullers vintage ale 20162016 Vintage Ale

A barley wine from Fullers. Not tried this year's vintage but if it’s like the previous years, it’ll be full of rich sherry notes with some underlying warming orange from Fullers' house yeast. I think this will make it as far as a decent cheeseboard and no further.

Adna,s Ghost ShipGhost Ship / Ease up / Mosaic Pale Ale

If you are reading this chances are you already know these Adnams beers but it is very likely I will be enjoying a few of these over Christmas. I don’t really have a favourite beer style, but if I did you could be forgiven for thinking that fruity, hoppy, pale ale ales were it. A selection of these will accompany me when we go and see the rest of the family. I also have several bottles of Flat White, a coffee porter we did with M&S which I am really enjoying right now and some Triple Knot, which I have a sneaking suspicion will work amazingly well with some Stöllen. Fergus in the breweryOutside of beer, Julie will make up a batch of mulled wine to see us through a cold night or two, and I am sure at some point we will open a bottle of Copper House Gin to push through to the early hours. I was going to write some more but the thought of Stöllen has got into my head so I must urgently go out and buy some. Have a great Christmas and I wish you all a happy New Year. Now, where can I get some Stöllen…


Fergus Fitzgerald