Skip to main content

Advent Calendar Window Twenty

Time for the Saints to arrive. Tis their season after all…

First is St Feuillien’s Cuvee deNoel 9%. I’ve had a few from this Belgian Abbey brewer this past year, including their saison for the #supsaison event. I’ve found them traditional, enjoyable, yet unremarkable so far. I’ve already prejudged this Christmas exertion early.

With a volcanic head on top of millilitres of flushed liquid, this beer retains those becoming-all-too-familiar scents that we’ve basically described as mincemeat, sherry or dried fruits at least six times this Advent. It’s becoming all too predictable. As is the taste. I suggested St Feuillien are traditionalists and they’ve reinforced that theory with this beer. It is, once more, sweet bordering on saccharine, spiced without breaking out the cinnamon sticks, more sherry than ale and more caramac than caramel. It is, what I have now come to understand as, a traditional Belgian Christmas ale. It is well executed, well balanced, easy drinking despite the strength and full bodied. It just doesn’t do anything else.

Enjoy with: Jack Frost, a festive film that doesn’t delight or disappoint. It just is.

Next is Brunehart Brewery’sAbbaye de Saint Martin Cuvee de Noel 8.5%. It’s been many years since I first had the Abbaye de Saint Martin Blonde so I’m going into this one with an open mind.

It’s got exactly the same colour as all the other Belgian beers so far, without the enormouse head, but it initially smells like vinegar whilst pouring. It’s immediately alkaline and I find myself turning my head away whilst it falls into the glass. Expecting a drainpour, I take a gulp without sticking my nose in any further. It’s delicious. It’s everything I’ve wanted since window one. It’s so terrifically (or horribly in some people’s minds) spiced, with every allspice ingredient, so much so that my Nana would happily have this on her spice rack. Suddenly a floral aroma, that parma violets sensation I’ve mentioned before, is present. But the taste is its own beast. It can’t be one of their regular brews with a mulled seasoning bag thrown in. This is beautifully balanced and perfectly thought through. It’s the kind of beer you could drink hot as a Mulled Beer, perish the thought. I actually love it. When I think Christmas beer, this is exactly what I want. By the barrel full. On the table during Christmas dinner. Replacing the sprouts.

Enjoy with: A big Christmas Carol concert, sung in the snow, by lantern light, in an old English village. Quite simply put, the quintessential Christmas scene.


Popular posts from this blog

"They Had Their Issues, So..."

      There’s a set of garages to rent as storage units near my workplace. One of them is taken by a local florist that uses it to store flower arrangements for various events, that are more often than not funerals.   As such, at least once a week at 8am I will pass a car being loaded up with flowers arranged into heart shaped patterns or the letters M U M. It is a grounding reminder that, as I mentally grumble my way through the upcoming arbitrary grievances of my ordinary working day, a group of family and friends locally is going through the hardest time. It provides much needed perspective on days when I could do with being reminded of all that I have to be thankful for.   These little moments explain to me why it is possible for us to share a communal loss when a celebrity passes away. Grief is often a personal and lonely experience, shared between a minority of people in your life. When a co-worker loses a relative or friend, it has little affect on me, bar signing of

LIVERPOOL - the City that Craft Beer Forgot Part II (and found...)

After visiting Liverpool, one of my favourite cities, in February this year, and not impressing people with my rather hasty but honest verdict on the city’s lack of craft beer, I jumped at the chance to return last week and hoped to come out with a more attractive judgement. A couple of friends and I visited on a day out, with neither of them having been drinking in the city before. It was left to me – or rather, I volunteered – to plan the day’s itinerary and places to visit. I had a couple of new or unvisited places in mind myself, but knew it would be unfair to miss out on some of the city’s famous gems. With around 10-12 hours in which to fit in an entire city, I opted to concentrate on the famous Georgian Quarter and see if we had time for the Dale Street end later on.    We planned to arrive in the city for around 11a.m. just in time to walk up Mount Pleasant to the new-on-me, though I believe it has been opened three years, Clove Hitch on Hope Street for breakfast.

Advent Calendar Window 14 - La Goudale de Noel

"Keep my distance, but you still catch my eye, Tell me, baby, do you recognise me? Well, it’s been a year, that doesn’t surprise me" La Goudale is an interesting French enigma. I searched for this under the label Brassee a L’Ancienne believing this to be the name of the brewery. After some fruitless searching, I learnt that this is not the name of a brewer, but rather a French saying that, roughly translated, means “Brewed in a Traditional way.” La Goudale is actually from the Brewery Gayant based in Douai, North-east France that aleso houses other well-nown brews such as Amadeus and La Biere Du Demon.  The real reason I find them an enigma though is for the discovery the other day that two of their beers – the Abbey and Wit – are sold in Aldi. They are in 750ml bottles and are £2.49 and £1.99 respectively. Housed here, the repugnant snob in me thinks they look cheap and unappetising on these shelves and managed to slightly put me off my La Goudale