Ilkley Brewery, Mary Christmas - 4.7%; £2.85
The Mayan, a chipotle and chocolate stout, was a recent special, and very special it was too, and Siberia, their one-off rhubarb saison was so delicious it’s been promoted to the status of core brew.
At Christmas, a festive beer with a pun in the name was required, and having Mary Jane and Stout Mary in the roster already, Ilkley had it perhaps a touch easier than some when it came to naming Mary Christmas.
A light golden ale ‘infused’ with Caribbean rum (although whether this is poured in following fermentation or through the addition of rum-soaked oak or similar isn’t certain), but there is a touch of honey-sweet rum in the aroma. Drying cut grass, bitter botanicals and tarragon play about the nose atop a pleasing malty background.
The flavour is surprisingly dry, far closer to a lager than a boozy Christmas beer, giving peach and spiced rum off in equal measure. Richly perfumed, there’s a suggestion of cascade or similar American hops in the long bitter finish, complimented by pine nuts and a clean crisp body.
• Recommended by Micheal Bates of The House Of Trembling Madness