- The name must be a bad pun on “Elf”, “Sleigh”, “Santa”, “Rudolph” etc.
- Names relating to “Santa’s Sack” or “Jingle Balls” are best avoided unless you want to fall foul of Pumpclip Parade
- The beer should be a touch darker than a normal bitter, but definitely not opaque
- The strength should be in a range from 4.0% to 4.3% as drinkers must not be encouraged to over-indulge
- Any hop character should be dialled down to a minimum, although a tiny hint of cinnamon or nutmeg may be allowed
Praise must go to Shepherd Neame for their splendid – and pun-free – Christmas Ale, which, at 7.0% ABV, doesn’t pussyfoot around, especially given that it comes in a 500ml bottle. (The cask version, as so often, is a rather more humdrum 5.0%)
I’ve also got a bottle of BrewDog Santa Paws “Christmas Scotch Ale” to sample over the festive period, which sounds intriguing, although as usual only a 330ml.