The Shambles in the centre of York was mentioned in the Domesday Book in 1087. The ye olde cart street is still used today for lots of eccentric shops. Apparently the Latin name for the Shambles was 'Marcello' meaning 'slaughterhouse'. However naming this ale Santa's Slaughterhouse doesn't have a particularly Christmassy ring to it, unless you've plans to watch a dodgy horror film on Christmas Eve! This dark chestnut coloured ale was brewed by the Ye Old Shambles Tavern and was picked up by Cinabar and her mom when they visited recently on holiday. I must admit that haven't been to York for a while, but do remember how good the walk around the wall was, as well as the gory pink castle (soaked in the blood of innocents!), the life museum, and not to mention the fantastic fish and chips, cakes and tea at Betty's.
The Ye Old Shambles Tavern brew plenty of real Yorkshire Ales, as well as sell a selection of coffees and teas, and has seating for fifty people for their own restaurant. Served in a 500ml bottle this 4.6% volume Santa's Shambles Tavern Surprise ale had a rich fruity lightly spiced smell on opening. The deep brown liquid filled my beer mug with a hearty head and had an initial bitter taste that made the hairs stand up on my neck. The lightly spiced fruitiness came after the sheer bitter blast once all my cobwebs had well and truly gone away. The complex mix of hops and barley battered against each other for a brief hardy few seconds and then smoothed out to the spiced warming fruity lip-smacking notes that made me want another sip upon another. Definitely a wonderful treat that shouldn't be just for Christmas. I'll have to pop into the tavern next time I'm in York, sample more of their ales and have a good hearty meal.