Toasting Christmas in with beer, cider, mead and more


If you’ve got a beer lover to shop for, or a cider lover, or just someone who likes a drink or two, then here’s some choices from me for the Christmas season:


Christmas drinking time: beer, cider, porter or mead

Working from left to right:

Perry’s Farm Pressed Medium Cider – ok, complete hands up moment. I bought this purely because I loved the label. What can I say? I have a thing for barn owls. But this is made using small batch techniques and wild yeast, and traditional apple types. And there are two other types with very nice labels in this range.


Hatherwood Craft Beer Company Winter Warmer – shows that craft beer has really arrived/gone mainstream when Lidl have worked with good people to create their own. This is a spiced dark beer, apparently has a smooth, dark, chocolate character. I am resisting opening this until Christmas, but at £1.49 a go then maybe I could.


Meantime Brewing Company London Porter (somewhat hidden) – this is a very large bottle by comparison, definitely pushing it into the great gift for a beer lover territory. There’s also a similar size bottle of the India Pale Ale, so the two together could be a really fantastic gift.


The Beer Kitchen Orange Peel Beer – this is an offshoot within Wadworth’s operations, so again a craft type operation within a much bigger brewer. I like it for being a little different but not just for the sake of it. Will work really well at this time of year, with its orange and citrus notes, not to mention some caramel sweetness. Sounds great to me. If you don’t want a whole case direct from the brewery, then I bought mine from Ocado.


Gosnells London Mead – something a bit different, I love the idea of this. Obviously this is an old school drink, but now brought bang up to date by the team at Gosnells. This is crisp and fresh, with the sweetness from the honey. Apparently it goes well with a cheeseboard, would make a nice, light change from port.


Aspall Premier Cru Cyder – love the description of this: full dry with a sophisticated and elegant floral aroma that captures the essence of an orchard. Hmm. But I am sure it’s fantastic, and I love their very precise food matching suggestions. Not just roast pork but roast pork, garlic and sage. It does say it goes well with rogan josh which might be a good thing to make with turkey leftovers.

If you’ve got a serious beer lover to buy for, then check out my review of Beer 52, as the offer code is still live so a bit of a bargain as a great gift for Christmas. We really enjoyed the selection they sent us, and it set us up well for a few weeks.


Craved: curating the good stuff


Great gift ideas for food lovers from Craved


I love it when you find people doing good stuff with great food. Or to be fair, Craved found me and sent me a lovely box of amazing things to show what they’re doing.

And I love what they are doing, which is pulling together great food from great producers and presenting it really well. It truly is curation at its best.

And I love that they are doing things a bit differently, with perhaps a bit of a tongue in cheek attitude. I mean, any time now a Snow Survival Kit is going to be very appealing, and, as those who know me will know, Gintoxicating has my name all over it.


Snow Survival Kit from Craved


There was nothing in the box which I’d tried before, which is always exciting. PaMa sauerkraut crackers definitely new to me, and make a nice change. Although a slightly acquired taste I think. Whereas Mast Brothers chocolate is a taste I could happily acquire.

We’re saving the Gosnell’s London Mead for Christmas, but love the story behind this. And we’ll probably save the soy glazed walnuts from Carpe Nux to go with it. A similar range makes up the Capital Collection, which is a lovely mix of things for £38.

Great business, really worth a look at. There are some great small producers in here as well, so I definitely see this as a win win kind of business.