Had an invite to sample some new Christmas themed beers earlier this week, where the pub chain had sent some of its pub managers to smaller breweries and worked on developing some new beers for the holiday season.

Nicholsons is one of those pub chains that is large enough to do this sort of thing, without being so large that it loses something in its atmosphere.

Sending the pub managers up to the breweries also meant the beers are not just normal beers with nutmeg added, but are legit special brews (no, not that Special Brew!).

My beer bloging flatmate’s favourite beer writer, Melissa Cole was in attendance to mange the crowd.

I can’t say too much about the beers as I am not a reviewer of beers (I leave that to the flatmate), but I would say that three were quite nice, three were not bad…and then there was the last one.

Taking a sniff of the aroma, I nearly recoiled – initially at the sheer strength of the aroma, but because there was a distinctly unpleasant undertone in there. Curiously, some drinks can have a strong aroma and yet taste lovely – but this wasn’t one of them.

Madame Cole said it would be a “marmite drink”, that you’ll either like or loathe, and while most of the room indicated approval, I was quietly spitting demons out of my mouth.

When I took the tasting notes home, the flatmate indicated that beer 7 would be the nicest. Evidently my palette is not sufficiently refined.

Being modern beers, they come with typically weird names, so there is I Can’t Believe It’s Not Rudolf; Nollaig Mohr Brew; Auld Saint Nic; Elf Indulgence; Ho Ho Soho; Gold, Frankincense and Moor and finally, the one I liked the most, a slightly fruity St. Nich’s Tipple.

I did a pub crawl a couple of years ago, where you go around a number of their pubs and get a leaflet stamped – visit six pubs and you get a t-shirt.

So you can try the six I liked, and avoid the EVIL Gold, Frankincense and Moor beer.

The beer tasting was open to the public – who could request a ticket via their Twitter account, if you are interested in future events.

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