Have you got a hygge knob? We don’t like to boast, but we do. And it’s turned up all the way to eleven. We’re up to our necks in Nordic knitwear; the wood burning stove and Pomegranate Noir Diffuser are on full blast; there’s a pastry in one hand and a cup of rosehip tea in the other; and we’ve taken all our Andy McNab books off the bookshelf and replaced them with an old typewriter.
Yes, it’s fair to say, we’ve got a hell of a lot of hygge going on here. Disillusioned with wriggling under the thumb of The Man, fed-up with being ugly and English, we’re going to start living Danishly in 2017 – and that means working 20 hours a week, eating more pastries, being happier and much more handsome and, it says here, spending more of our time gazing at candles and firelight.
To achieve the highest form of hygge, you’re going to need a beer. That’s not what the hygge guides necessarily say but, look, just light another candle and go with us on this one, it’s all about being in the moment.
The fireside moment deserves more than a chilled cooking lager sloshed into a pint glass, it demands something rather special, something crafted for moments of quiet contemplation, something you can swirl in a snifter as you stare glassy-eyed into the smoldering embers of a once roaring fire. Slow sipping, celebratory beers especially suited for special occasions – dusted down, delicately decanted and treated with the utmost respect and reverence.
Three to buy
Cloudwater X TO OL Christmas Cake Imperial Stout
This collaboration between the cutting-edge Cloudwater from Manchester and To OL, a Danish gypsy brewer that gets the craft beer geeks rather excited, is a viscous, maelstrom of rich chocolate malt, dried fruits and ground spices. Also worth trying are Cloudwater’s barrel-aged beers which, like this, suit cellaring and improve over time.
Abbaye de Rochefort 10
The Abbey de Notre-Dame de Saint Remy, near Namur in the Ardennes, remains one of Belgium’s most attractive ale-making abbeys to visit. Sunk deep in the undulating valleys of the Ardennes, it boasts one of the most handsome copper brew houses in the world – monks have been making the beer here since 1595. Rochefort’s holy trinity of unpasteurised, top-fermented beers are numbered 6, 8 and 10. While all three beers deserve ‘must drink’ status and are tremendous Trappist classics, it’s the Rochefort 10, especially drawn from the cellar after a few years, that impresses the most. Contemplative and complex, slip it into its own bespoke glass and swirl up a dark ruby reverie of chocolate, plums, fruit cake and anejo rum.
From one of the UK’s most consistently excellent brewing outfits comes this velvety, voluptuous dark beer brewed, rather uniquely, with chestnut honey sourced from Italy. Launched in small batches, it’s an enthralling yet unusual combination of cappuccino, lemon, smooth chocolatey malt and a touch of peaty smoke on the finish.