St. Bernardus Christmas Ale

December 16, 2011

Overall Grade:A+

I know this site is focused on American beers, and rightfully so because in general I believe we are moving beer in different and interesting directions, more than any other old-world beer country. I recently visited England and France with my wife, and was really quite appalled to see the general selection of beers available to your average Londoner/Parisian in the average corner store. But I digress . . .

St. Bernardus is a brewery in Belgium, incidentally the homeland of my dear old dad (Vercammen, I know right?) Anyway, Trappist monks brew beer there, and it is f**king amazing. It's like listening to Katy Perry, then switching the Pandora station and getting Parker, Mingus, Monk, Davis . . . and remembering what music is supposed to be, this is what beer is supposed to be. I'll spare you the rest of my analogies, the point is, this is BEER. This is the beer that birthed every other beer you drink, literally, and you need to try it.

When you smell this beer, it reminds you of wine. Not that beer has to be compared to wine, but the aroma is excellent. Flavor-wise, when you think Belgian beers you think of a certain flavor: sweet and sour, with a touch of hoppy bitterness, and then that over-riding brettanomyces (yeast) flavor that really distinguishes Belgian beers. This beer, though, this Christmas beer, is a bit of a scrooge. Hoppier than the St. Bernardus Abt 12, which is rightfully considered one of the best beers in the world, this beer has a dark side. Drinkability isn't even a question, if you don't want to polish off a whole 750ml bottle of this stuff, then beer might not be your thing. Pick up a bottle and enjoy, Joyeux Noel tout le monde!

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