Thursday, 27 December 2012

A cheesy gift

As someone known to have an interest in beer, over the years I’ve received my fair share of rather naff beer-related Christmas gifts. Possibly the worst was a set of four “Great British Ales”, in 275 ml bottles, three brewed by Ridgeway Brewery, the other being Elgood’s Black Dog, with strengths of 3.0%, 3.2%, 3.6% and 4.0%. Whoever got away with charging a fiver for that made a mint. And, while I’ve never received one myself, I’m sure in the past I’ve seen one of “Lagers of the World” including both Fosters and Stella. This isn’t much better – and I think all four are British-brewed.

However, I thought this gift pack of Lancashire cheese and ale which I received this year was actually very decent. Traditional farmhouse Lancashire cheese together with a couple of decent beers from a Lancashire family brewery, and oatcakes and chutney, is a good combination. In many ways the ideal gift is something that will be appreciated by the recipient, but which they wouldn’t have bought themselves, and this fitted the bill perfectly.

Gill Hall, third generation cheese maker at Butlers said of the new product, “Lancashire has a rich foodie heritage and we wanted to create a gift that showcased this. All our cheeses are made from milk from local farms so we chose to match it with two local ales that complement the soft, open texture of our traditional creamy Lancashire with their complex flavours. Cheese and beer make an excellent pairing so we hope people will enjoy this special Christmas gift!”


  1. An exellent gift, I'd say. Beer and cheese. What's not to like?

  2. I don't wish to come across as ungrateful, but I received a four bottle pack of "British Ales" entitled "a selection of Britain's finest ales".

    And what are Britain's finest ales, I hear you ask? Well wait for it - Young's Light Ale, Courage Light Ale, Itchen Valley Godfathers ALe and Triple fff Alton's Pride! Nothing above 3.8% abv, and all in 275ml bottles!

    The people behind this piece of marketing nonsense are a company called Beams International, and the price? £8.00! (I know this as the present giver forgot to remove the price tag!)

    There really are some umscrupulous people about, as I know the person who bought me the present did so in good faith, and would have been convinced she was buying a gift that a beer lover would really appreciate.

    I will however, enter into the spirit of what was intended and drink the beers. It should also prove an interesting piece of research, as I don't think I've knowingly drank Light Ale since my late teens!

    ps. I have seen the pack that Tesco's are offering. You would think their buyers would know a bit better!

  3. @Tyson: I thought of you when writing that post ;-)

    @Paul Bailey - yes, I saw that particular pack when doing a bit of research for this article. About on a par with the one I once got.

    I once received a gift pack of Shepherd Neame beers including 4x500ml bottles of Master Brew, Spitfire, Bishop's Finger and Whitstable Bay, which is not that unreasonable unless you detest Sheps' beers.

    But some of these offers really are taking the piss.

  4. Butler's Tasty Lancashire is my favourite cheese.

  5. Ah, Butlers. The packing and distribution centre for that dairy is almost literally just round the corner from my house!

    Personally, I'm much more of a Singleton's person (I'm biased due to family connections) but their Strong Lancashire has been a favourite of mine for a long time.

  6. Lord Egbert Nobacon28 December 2012 at 00:12

    The best Christmas present I got this year was one I delivered myself.

    The in-laws came to dinner and on Christmas Eve the missus announced that her dad was bringing the wine.

    " Oh, how is your mother " I asked.

    I fucking laughed solid at my own joke for two days - what a brilliant Christmas.

  7. Paul Bailey: I had a very similar pack to you, actually - it contained Courage Light Ale, Ridgeway TVA, Cotswold Farm Ale and another one that may possibly have been Shepherd Neame's Spitfire (I can't remember (but wasn't any of the ones listed on the website). As I said, all the beers in there were pretty poor and in those tiny 275ml bottles! I was disappointed with all of the beers in there - most of them were tasteless.

  8. I got this too. Just finished the Bomber, but i had the Wainright with the cheese. Excellent stuff. But... why the fuck do people want to spoil cheese with pickle? It destroys the taste (and it's a good pickle mind).


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