In December I had 80 new beers and there were a fair few crackers amongst them. I do try and treat myself to some better bottled beers around Christmas but the beers I had during the rest of the month were also of a very good standard generally.
I started the month by going to Pigs Ear. I had a great time and sampled some superb bottled beers. The best of these was 3 Fonteinen Doesjel, an excellent new gueuze from this producer which never fails to excite. Other good bottles were Equinox Winter Beer from de Zenne Brouwerij; Ølfabrikken Brown Ale and Night On Mare Street 2, a slightly stronger follow up from last year's festival special brewed by Pitfield. The cask stuff wasn't as good but I did enjoy beers from Alcazar and Twickenham.
Other cask ales which were worthy of a mention during December were Nethergate Umbel Magna a spiced porter which was my last cask ale of the year, drank in The Malt Shovel in Northampton, where I had previously had two great beers in one evening: Great Oakley Wobbly Santa and Milton Nero; both strongish dark beers which are perfect for this time of year. However the best cask ale of the month was not seasonal at all, in spite of its name. I had Buntingford Silent Night in The Wig & Pen Northampton. It was packed with delicious grapefruity hops, and tasted so fresh and citrussy.
I had a higher number of good bottled beers though throughout the month. Ridgeway Foreign Export Stout from Hepworth brewery is a strong roasty stout with good licquorice flavours; Isle Of Skye Cuillin Beast is a beast of a Scotch Ale with nice fruity malty notes and a good caramel and alcohol buzz, and my second beer from Emersons of New Zealand: Pilsner is almost as hoppy as the IPA.
Later in the month I went to a family party and for obvious reasons took my own beer (on offer from mine hosts by the way was a French wine labelled "good French wine" which says it all really). I thoroughly enjoyed the funky Nøgne Ø Saison and the wonderfully full bodied and flavoursome Left Hand Imperial Stout which had lovely chocolate notes to go with the roasty malts and soy flavours. This was the best beer of the month.
On New Year's Eve I treated myself to two excellent beers. First was the subtle BrewDog Paradox Speyside which was delicious and had far less whiskey flavours than the frankly impossible Islay Cask. This beautiful stout was followed by Fullers Vintage Ale 2005 which was not as good as some previous vintages but is still a great strong hoppy English beer. It was a more than decent last tipple of 2007.