Skip to main content

Advent Calendar Window 24 - Stille Nacht and St Bernardus Christmas Ale

Let us end Christmas on a high. Let us do so because my calculations are poor and patience even worse. Let us rejoice in the coming of the Lord and Saviour and therefore we get crap loads of presents because some preacher was born 2013 years ago. Hark, for a 14-year-old woman has got knocked up and the only defence there is to claim it's because God has impregnated her. And I am a Christian and a Christmas lover before the pitchforks are sharpened.
Today the Advent Calendar comes to an end. I've really enjoyed it this year, where as last year's had become a chore by the end. Family casualties and endless work merriment made some of the posts published late, but I endeavoured and still am glad to keep mine solely Christmas ale exclusive. Last year I vowed never to do such a calendar again. This year I find myself already looking forward to December 1st 2014.
Somehow this year I ended with two beers left come December 24th. Perhaps it is due to the moving around the beers have had to endure or my poor calculations. Either way both beers were absolute beauts: De Dolle's Stille Nacht 12% and St Bernardus Christmas Ale 10%. Both were purchased on a recent visit to Gent so are this year's fresh batch and both I wished to include in this Advent Calendar. The solution: drink and review them both. Hark!
Stille Nacht is a Belgian Strong Blonde Ale that pours light and golden with short head. The beer is perfume sweet on the nose, with a lot of lavender and parma violets mixed together with that hint of irn-bru and tizer I found so much in the Gouden Carolus last year. It's crazy and those sort of flavours carry themselves into the taste. At first, as I stated on untapped, I couldn't decide whether this was enjoyable or not. But as it warms and settles there's further complexity with burnt sugar, cinnamon, physalis, dragon fruit and the merest hint of cardamom. It has quite an oily texture and would perhaps be served better as a dark beer for the style, with a dark fruit malty backbone providing a little balance to that perfumed sweetness. But still a great beer.
St Bernardus Christmas Ale is so similar to the wonderful Gouden Carolus Christmas Ale that I'm not even mad. It's main difference seems to be in a different yeast; and a look on the website shows I'm right. Again there's so much lavender and parma violets on the nose of this dark umber of a beer that's inch thick head settles very quickly. There's so much more though to this beer as you work your way through a 750ml bottle. Chestnut nuttiness, tart berries, pine forest woodiness, frozen red grapes, oak cask sherry, star anise and the rather unrefined finish of my favourite candy: foam bananas. It breeds the word decadent for such a young beer (2013 version) and I understand why so many keep this to age. It's oily mouth feel that provides a bitter and dry texture makes this a perfect addition to the Christmas table. Quintessentially, this was the beer that was made to replace wine at the Christmas dinner. Absolutely superb and an absolute joy to have tried. First class.
Both were purchased at De Hopduvel, November 2013
I would like to thank all those that read these reviews throughout Advent. There will be a round-up review of what I've experienced here after Christmas. Have a terrific Christmas guys and a wonderful New Year.


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

The Ten Pubs That Made Me - Part 3: Dr Okell's / My Foley's Tap House and Leeds

A pint in Mr Foley's Tap House from December 2022     This is Part 3 (the fourth post) of an ongoing project. Please see the beginning of Part 0 for details.    Come the end of this journey, there may be a lesson in procrastination that I am unlikely to heed. These posts stem from a list that I made three years ago and a series that I embarked on 18 months ago. We’ve only now reached a 30% completion rate and with this post we are back to fail for the second time.   This odyssey began with a trip to Mr Foley’s Tap House in February 2022 – named Dr Okell’s bar on my first visits in 2005 – only to discover that it was closed. It did reopen by the time that the post was coming out and I managed a brief visit in December 2022. However, my July 1 st 2023 trip to Leeds, on which this post is based, is met with this sign at the door of the bar:      A quick check of social media shows an Instagram post from the day before (June 30 th ) announcing the closure of the

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.