Seven ales for seven santas

Christmas has well and truly arrived at Nicholson’s, the 80-plus heritage and ale-infused group of pubs located in London and further afield.

Nicholsons-Christmas AlesFollowing the success of Wild Holly, last year's festive brew with Bakewell’s brewing stars Thornbridge, the Mitchells & Butlers-owned bunch has gone one step further, brewing seven ales with different breweries dotted around the country. Over 80 of its staff got involved with everything, from cleaning out the mash tuns to chucking in the hops.

"It's the best selection of Christmas beers I have come across," said Melissa Cole as she hosted the launch at the Horniman at Hay's, near London Bridge at the end of November. From Rudgate Brewery’s Auld Saint Nich  – a chestnut-coloured brew with dark roast notes and more flavour than its 4.3% strength would suggest – to Elf Indulgence from Cropton Brewery – Lime Key Pie in the glass to my mind, with its chocolatey nose and palate, plus gentle citrus tang, this little collection will keep all entertained.

Keep an eye out for Nicholson’s next special, Top of the Hops, a record-breaking brew using 2012 different hops created with the help of hop maestro Peter Darby and his Kent-based National Hop Collection. More on that later.

All the above Christmas ales will be available in each of the Nicholson's pubs during December, with Top of the Hops continuing until February.