Especially around this time of the year many a nightmare may begin with finding yourself alone in a dark forest with unseen growling and groaning creatures watching you from the shadows, then suddenly you see a blinding fearful light. Is it an apparition, or sanctuary from the monsters in the dark perhaps or just a new terrible enemy that wishes to blind you and then consume you in one of its many toothed gaping mouths? The spooky glowing maple tree on this 500ml bottle’s label reminded me of such feverish dreams. Maple Moon was produced by the Joseph Holt Brewery, in Manchester, which was founded in 1849 and has stayed in the family for five generations. This 4.8% volume amber ale won the silver medal at the 2005 International Brewing Awards. Brewed with amber malts, cascade aroma hops and a drizzle of tantalizing Canadian Maple, there was certainly a hoppy smell on opening the bottle, as well as a hint of sweetness to this ale. Cinabar gave me a lesson on maple syrup before I tasted the ale. Apparently maple syrup is made from xylem sap that comes from red and black maple trees. Canada is the largest exporter of maple syrup with 75% of the world’s output, generating $145 million a year for their economy. Anyway, I digress… The aroma of sweetness transferred to the taste of Maple Moon. There was an initial smooth malt and hoppy taste, with a mild sweetness from the maple, finished by a noticeable bitterness. This was a beautifully crafted moreish treat of an ale and certainly deserved a gold medal in my books. Although not spooky in any way, it had a warming, sweet and charming quality that would sooth any fearful nightmare and let you slip away into a restful sleep.