As the nights start to draw out – there’s still a place for dark ales…yes it’s that time of year when darker ales make their mark.

This February our favorite dark ale is make a welcome return – in cask and Key Keg.

Triskele Norfolk Porter

A smooth dark ale, infused with orange and coriander. Uses 5 malts including smoked barley for a subtle hint of smokiness and a complex finish.

Personally, I have always loved the seasons and I love the fact that, when it comes to beer, there still seems to be some retained purity in traditional seasonality – as autumn signals the arrival of a plethora of winter ales and the delights of full bodied, flavoursome beers to savour.

Now, don’t get me wrong, of course you can get dark beers all year round, but brewers will add that little bit extra to create rich, comforting and warming winter beers.

I’m not sure that there are any strict rules – but, us humans are indeed pre-programmed to seek out seasonal ingredients.

Many darker ales include the traditional spices associated with Christmas; cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger for example, as well as dried fruits such as orange or lemon. Typically, these very expensive ingredients were the regular delight for only the wealthy, while most folk could afford them only for celebrations such as Christmas.  So, over time they would become known as the Christmas spices.

Brewers sought to replicate this practice and crafted indulgent, special seasonal beers to be the preserve of winter, created to be warming, complex and that little bit special – after all it is Christmas!

So, do explore the array of darker ales out there, but remember their history is to be special and indulgent.

Dark beers, there to savour.