The English county of Oxfordshire is home to several remnants of ancient woods and forests where Yule logs can be found, including the Wychwood Forest. In the nearby town of Whitney is the Eagle Brewery where Wychwood beers are produced, including their Christmas seasonal, Bah Humbug!
The name is obviously taken from A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Look, there’s a picture of Ebenezer Scrooge on the label with the Ghost of Christmas Past rattling his chains.
Both Dickens and Scrooge are in a select group of people whose name has become an adjective: ‘Dickensian’ being associated with the squalid and exploitative conditions experienced by the working poor of the 19th century, and ‘Scrooge’ being a miser or mean old skinflint.
Wychwood has a very distinctive style. Their flagship beer, Hobgoblin, is sold with the slogan “What’s the matter lagerboy, afraid you’ll taste something?”, a not very subtle dig at the modern urban youth who are content to spend a Saturday evening tossing down pints of bland Eurolager before spilling out onto the streets at closing time and knocking seven bells out of each other.
They also brew a blonde ale called The Dog’s Bollocks (big, round and fruity). The term ‘it’s the dog’s bollocks’ is British slang for something that’s really rather good, but bollocks isn’t a word you’d want to use in front of your granny unless you have the smelling salts close to hand to bring her back round after she swoons.
Despite a sense of humour that might come across as a bit schoolboy, fratboy, 12th grade, there is a serious side to Wychwood. They’re the UK’s biggest producer of organic ales and they brew beer for Duchy Originals, a brand of high-end organic food and drink founded by Prince Charles 20 years ago, not to mention the beers brewed at the former Brakspear brewery and described in yesterday’s calendar entry.
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