When the weather is as cold and miserable as it has been of late, I wonder why beers like York Brewery’s Stocking Filler are promoted as Christmas ales. I found this one knocked down to £1 a bottle at the York Brewery on a visit there last weekend and thought that it had to be worth trying, and I’m so glad that I did. The bottle describes its contents as a 4.8% ABV dark premium bitter, and elsewhere as a ruby ale: my experience is that the colour is just on the brown side of red, and the taste isn’t really what I think of as a bitter either! So my only criticism is of the description on the label! There’s a beautifully creamy head that lasts quite well, and the aroma is rich and spicy (as advertised) – mainly cinnamon. The taste is equally rich, with strong chocolate and malt flavour and spicy notes (exactly as it says on the bottle). The snow has been threatening to start falling all day but this ale will keep me warm, so all I need is the sound of sleigh bells and a hearty ‘ho, ho, ho’ to get me in the mood for Christmas!!!