The Badass Beer Advent Calendar: December 2nd

Tis the season to knock a few back. Join us on our month long exploration of seasonal beers. Today we try Samuel Smith’s Winter Welcome.

It’s an intriguing place, Yorkshire. It used to be the biggest county in England and was divided into three ridings - north, west and east. Going back even further, it used to part of the mediaeval kingdom of Northumbria which existed, along with several others, before there was a unified kingdom of England. It’s a county of extremes. It has some of the most exhilarating natural features, such as Malham Cove, and some of the most bleak and windswept, such as the limestone pavement on the moors above Malham. Now you know what Kate Bush was singing about in Wuthering Heights!

I believe that Yorkshire County Cricket Club was the last of the First Class teams to do away with the rule that you had to be born in the county to play for the team. They stick to their guns in Yorkshire and they like tradition.

Samuel Smith’s brewery was founded in Tadcaster in 1758… and again in 1852, and finally (again) in 1886. Long story short, there was a lot of family involved. This longevity leads Sam Smith’s to claim the title of oldest brewery in Yorkshire. The company is fiercely proud of its independence, the well it still draws water from to brew its beers and the stone fermenters it brews them in, but over here it’s probably best known for its uniquely shaped and embossed bottles.

Being a winter warmer, Winter Welcome is a beer that leans towards malty sweetness with plenty of toffee and caramel flavours, but with just enough hop balance to make it interestingly spicy and dry. As with Anchor Christmas and Deschutes Jubelale, the label changes each year.

So, to get back to the Smith family and its story. Samuel Smith’s brother, John, was also a brewer, and John Smith’s brewery is still going strong although it’s no longer independent - for a while it was part of the Scottish and Newcastle group, which was in turn swallowed up by Heineken.

Jim Hughes, Head Beer Nerd, Alamo South Lamar
“If I had all the money I’ve spent on drink… I’d spend it on drink.” ~            Sir Henry Rawlinson