Ilkley Brewery, Mary Christmas - 4.7%; £2.85
ILKLEY Brewery are a wonderful local bunch, whose range of beers comprises both session ales with local flavour (see Mary Jane, and Joshua Jane, of Ilkley Moor fame) and some more experimental gems.
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
We'll try to update everyone with anything that's exciting or new. Give us some feedback!