Tasmanian brewer Stu Grant is bringing down the curtain on his first year under the Ocho banner with a beer for Christmas. Or Daddy Christmas, if you will. After as colourful an opening array of beers as this country is likely to have witnessed – barrels, farmhouse ales, blends, sours, grapes and a take on the New England IPA style – all while adding to his collection of children, he no doubt feels entitled to a little celebration. And that's what this sort of beer is; it's not a spiced, strong Belgian ale like many Christmas ales tend to be, rather an English inspired "strong ale" equivalent.
You don't see such beers too often these days, even in England, but they do share much in common with stronger dark beers from across the waters in Belgium: lots of specialty malts in the mix, lots of booze and a hefty, rich palate. That's what you get here, with its ruddy redness offering up much in the way of treacle, dates and nuttiness – the sort to share with family and friends while soaking up the festive vibes. Stu reckons it's the sort of beast that will cellar well for five or more years so you could crack one at a fair few Christmases to come.