Snow in York this weekend?

York Press: Manager Lucy Cordukes at the Slip Inn, which is holding a winter beer festival Manager Lucy Cordukes at the Slip Inn, which is holding a winter beer festival

GAVIN AITCHISON says it’s time to spread some seasonal cheer

THERE will be snow in York this weekend, mark my words. Maybe not in the streets – but certainly in the pubs.

There will be loads of it, six inches deep if you’re lucky. Or a little less, if you opt for a half.

Make no mistake, Christmas is now upon us. It must be, because the festive beers are hitting the bars. If you withstood the supermarkets pushing selection boxes in October, well done. And if you resisted family lobbying to put up the tree in November, good on you. But let the celebrations begin in earnest now.

If you want a taste of snow, head to Brigantes in Micklegate or any of the York Brewery pubs. Snowflake, the brewery’s seasonal special, was on the Brigantes bar on Thursday and it was tremendous. It’s a dry and very pale ale with a crisp hop flavour, and was excellent both on its own and with the Christmas grazing board from the kitchen.

If it has gone by the time you get to Micklegate, then you may be able to enjoy Brass Castle’s Snow Eater instead. This too is a pale ale, brewed with Chinook, a fresh, piney and herby hop. It has already been available at The House of The Trembling Madness in Stonegate and will also be on at Pocklington Arts Centre this weekend.

Elsewhere, The Waggon and Horses and Rook and Gaskill in Lawrence Street are both well-stocked. Loch Ness’s Festive Ness is the highlight at The Waggon, while The Rook’s range includes Yule Twig from Great Heck and Wharefebank’s Cranberry Blonde, as well as the wintry – albeit not Christmassy – Waen’s Chilli Plum Porter.

To really get into the Christmas mood though, head to The Slip Inn in Clementhorpe this weekend or Suddaby’s in Malton next weekend.

The Slip’s fourth winter beer festival began last night and continues until tomorrow, with 21 ales, six ciders and live music galore. Festive specials include Fairytale of Yorkshire by Revolutions, WassAle by Wincle, Clementine by Prospect and Crazy Christmas by Off Beat.

From the non-themed beers, Marble Brewery’s imaginatively-named Pint is one to try, while Brass Castle’s Bad Kitty is also a sure-fire winner for those who like dark beers with smooth, vanilla flavour.

At Malton, meanwhile, the 18th Suddaby’s winter beer festival runs from next Thursday to Sunday, with 30 real ales and ciders, live music and food all day. Ossett’s Nervous Turkey and Elland’s Three Kings are among the festive options, but look out also for the debut beer from a new East Yorkshire brewery – Gyle No 1 by Half Moon in Ellerton.

Finally, if you’re braving the crowds to go Christmas shopping this weekend, don’t despair. You too can take solace. The bar-tent in Parliament Street offers four very decent beers, as well as mulled wine and various other hot drinks. Rosey Nosey from Batemans in Lincolnshire is an enjoyable bitter and catches the eye thanks to its flashing pump-clip, but the Imperial Russian Stout from Black Sheep in Masham is the star of the show. It has an ABV of 7.5 per cent and a potent liquorice and dried fruit flavour – enough to warm the cockles and to beat even the bitterest cold weather.

Twitter: @pintsofview

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