Christmas Cake Imperial Stout at The Needle & Pin, December 2016

It’s Christmas!!!!

Well, almost. We are just a few days away. One of the important ingredients of Christmas is Christmas cake. But what if you are on a liquid diet? How about a Christmas cake in beer form? That can be arranged.

With any luck, you would be able to get to a pub that has one of only 12 casks of Christmas Cake Imperial Stout, brewed by Cloudwater Brew Co in collaboration with ToØl of Denmark. The cakey Imperial Stout was infused with fresh ground spices and dried fruits to create something fruity, and rich, with lingering warming spices.

I did just that. Our lovely little local, The Needle & Pin, had managed to secure one of these rare casks, and today was the day when it would be going live. Sold only in halves or thirds (you don’t need more), this festive delight was sure to delight local drinkers including myself and regular MOFAD drinking companion Alec, who was also interested in sampling this festive fayre.

Indeed it did delight us. Without a doubt this is Christmas cake in a glass, boozy dried fruits and gentle winter spices. Well worth the brief cycle to get here and try this. Nearly everyone who walked through the door during the couple of hours that we were there wanted to try it, the exception being a couple of people who had other things to do, such as driving home or operating heavy machinery…

We decided to stay for something a little lighter, Binghams Vanilla Stout, voted CAMRA’s Supreme Champion Beer of Britain earlier this year.

It was a gentle vanilla stout, very tasty, but it certainly won’t be my champion beer this year. We also needed some lunch, so a quick trip over the road to The Hog Stop soon found us with a couple of English traditional pork rolls in our hands, slow roasted pork with home made apple sauce, home made sage and onion stuffing and crispy crackling.

There was time for a little shopping too, as you could take away a few bottles, either to drink now, or to lay down and age for a while. MOFAD drinking companion Matt had requested some boozy delightfulness too, always happy to help 🙂

Merry Christmas!

The Hog Stop, December 2016

Another quick Hog Stop post. I was just across the road at The Needle & Pin, enjoying a very festive pint of Christmas Cake Imperial Stout with regular MOFAD drinking companion Alec. A little food was needed, and a short stroll across The Rushes rewards you with hot porky goodness, a couple of English traditional pork rolls, slow roasted pork with home made apple sauce, home made sage and onion stuffing and crispy crackling.

Perfect accompaniment to a festive pint!

A preview of #Tryanuary 2017

Yes, I know it’s not even Christmas yet, but I wanted to preview something that starts on New Year’s Day, and something that I was involved with last year.

January 2017 will be the third #tryanuary, a campaign on social media to encourage people to try new beers and visit their local pubs during January. The month is traditionally a difficult one for publicans after the excesses of December, and so many other campaigns going on like #dryanuary and stupid “detox” programmes. You have something that detoxes you every day. It’s called a liver. Treat it with some respect and it will look after you.

The idea of #tryanuary is that you make it your mission to seek out new independent breweries, beers, bars and bottle shops, and share your discoveries with people throughout January. You can do that on social media with #tryanuary, or you could even just talk to people about the places you’ve found and new beers you’ve discovered.


Even though the UK is still enjoying a boom in all things beer and we now have over 1700 breweries, these hard-working independent businesses still need your vital support! By celebrating, sharing and enjoying what’s out there, you can help. Research on spending by local authorities shows that for every £1 spent with a small or medium-sized business ,63p stays in the local economy, compared to 40p with a larger business.

Supporting your local micropub helps your local community. They host events with local groups and they may have live music on. So why not pay them a visit? Try some new beers, maybe pick up a few to take away? Then share your discoveries and see what others have been up to via the #tryanuary hashtag.

This isn’t about drinking more.
It’s about trying something different.
Tasting something new.
Experiencing something interesting.

And this doesn’t just have to be for January. Beer is for life, not just for January. Enjoy beer responsibly!