Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Last Christmas Beer Thingy You Should Read this Year.

What is it about a brewer and a bag of spices that leads to so much trouble this time of year?

Most brewers, or so I gather, are concerned about things like balance and drinkability 99 percent of the time. But give them the chance to make a spiced holiday beer and all restraint goes out the window. Maybe this is the time of the year they get all of that nonsense out of their systems. I'm nearly done with Christmas beers altogether, outside of a few reliable stalwarts. I like to eat pumpkin pie. Not drink it.

Last night I cracked an Abbaye de Saint-Martin Cuvée de Noël, from Brunehaut. Squat little bottle and classy faux-Gothic label. At first the nose was really enticing, something like figs and a touch of rum. As it warmed, more spices came out. And more. And more. On its Ratebeer page you can read the tasting notes. Pretty incredible range of spices that people thought they detected. For me it was overwhelmingly anise. Like fruity licorice kool-aid.

To be fair to Brunehaut, I know for a fact they're capable of making good beer. Their regular stable is refreshing enough and shows interesting farmhouse leanings.

I've still got a few Belgian Christmas ales I haven't opened yet. I'm going to cellar them all until next year and hope they improve. I'm nearly ready for the spring saison season. Which for me runs from January to November.



  1. I have to agree about Christmas beers. I've been avoiding them solely due to insipid levels of spicing. Although Stille Nacht from De Dolle is the exception, I search far and wide for that beer.

    And why no saison in December?

  2. Well, I cheat a little. I was drinking Saison Dupont from a flute on New Year's Eve.