Day Two - Wiper and True/Partizan XK (UK, 6.8%)
London's Partizan brew an impressive range of milds based on historical recipes. This particular beer blends a Lovibond X ale from 1864 with Wiper and True's Keeper Beer, a barley wine. It's an interesting concept however you look at it, but the most fascinating thing about this beer is that the combination of two heritage British styles would come off something like a Belgian ambreé.
After a little over a year maturing in the bottle, it's an insistent, nerve wracking pour in the way of the liveliest Belgian beers. There's a tight, rocky head which sticks around until the very last drop, and an enticing aroma of caramel, orange peel and chamomile. These are all there in the flavour, along with a little tannic black tea and a sugary note suggestive of candy floss.
The brisk carbonation and light body continue the Belgian parallel. Sold at least partially as a Christmas beer, the label promises the usual festive nutmeg. Happily, I get none of that at all. What could be a claggy, over-spiced mess is, instead, sophisticated and easy drinking; a sipper, and wintery in its warming malt-driven way, but not a chore.