“A vicar walks into a pub” sounds like the first line of a joke but this vicar is Revd. David Stephenson and he’s here to build a tradition. For the second year in a row, he’s going to taste the first pint of Sweet Baby Jesus. The pub is the Bullfinch Brewery tap room and the beer is a festive stout made with a whole Christmas pudding and lots of cocoa.
David had just celebrated ten years at All Saints church in West Dulwich and we reckon he had earned his pint. We had two questions. Did the beer hit the spot and what did he make of calling it Sweet Baby Jesus?
This is a drink to luxuriate in, with its rich smell and waves of pudding and chocolate flavour. “My word, there’s a lot going isn’t there” is David’s first reaction. “I definitely, definitely recommend Sweet Baby Jesus”.
Pausing reflectively over his glass, he explained that if anything, it was the ‘sweet’ rather than the ‘baby Jesus’ that offended. “It suggests that the baby Jesus is just cutesy and obviously, my faith suggests that he’s a bit more interesting than that”.
This year’s brew is different to last year’s. For a start the alcohol content is up a percentage point to 5%. “Maybe next year it’ll have to be six and then eventually....” warns the brewer, Ryan Mclean. He also used a luxury pudding and it’s butteryness destroyed the head tension. It’ll be back to a budget pudding next year.
Sweet Baby Jesus is on tap at Bullfinch Brewery on Rosendale Road in West Dulwich and in bottle at Hop Burns & Black in East Dulwich, Dulwich Vintners, Wild and Lees in Herne Hill and The Beer Shop in Nunhead . Get it while stocks last.
“I’ve got a meeting here tomorrow” says Revd David with a smile, before heading out into the early evening darkness of his parish.