TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS BEERS!
Unfortunately Mr Smiles and I are unable to go to Belgium this Christmas to sample the Belgian Winter Ales. However the Beers have come to us!
We have an A to Z notebook entitled `The Smiles Good Belgium Beer Guide‘ ! When my husband first suggested I join him on a trip to Belgium to sample the Belgian Winter Ales my condition of going was that each beer had to be annotated in our notebook with a * rating and a description. The star rating is out of 5, ***** being outstanding and * undrinkable. This can prove slightly unscientific if you are a bit squiffy and have already sampled one or two! The Smiles Good Belgium Beer Guide 2012 included a variety of ales we sampled over our weekend away not just Winter ones. This year as we were unable to make the trip we purchased a crate of 12 Christmas Beers from Beers of Europe.
So here it is:-
The Smiles Good Belgium Beer Guide 2013
[table id=6 /]
So there we have it The Smiles Twelve Days of Belgium Christmas Ales! The overall winner was most definately Kerst Pater with Bush Noel a close second. We enjoyed the experiment of being able to try 12 different Christmas Belgian Beers, but actually came back to our trusted faithful Kerst Pater. Would we do the experiment again? Maybe not. We felt that many of the so called Christmas beers did not merit being called Winter Ales. There were quite a few times that we felt the beers lacked something and were not complex enough. So what is a Christmas Ale? … A Christmas Ale is a seasonal beer brewed for consumption during the Winter or Christmas period. These beers are usually strong and spiced with a variety of unusual ingredients such as dried fruits, caramel, chocolate or spruce. To Mrs Smiles a Christmas beer should be `sugar and spice and all things nice.’ Mr Smiles is not quite so keen on really sickly sweet beers reminiscent of sticky toffee pudding, but does like a strong dark beer full of flavour.
I have read that Christmas Beers should not be served ice cold. If the first sip is bitter it is best to let the beer warm up a little before casting judgement. It may be that we drunk some of our beers a little cold so our rating has been clouded by the temperature of the beer. I would love to hear what your experience of these beers has been.
Next year Mr Smiles and I may select our very own crate for the 12 Days of Christmas Belgian Beer. This crate would include some old favourite dark beers, which although not advertised as Christmas ales would go down very well at Christmas time. Our ideal crate would include – Stille Nacht, Westmalle Dubbel, St Bernadus Prior 8, Trappistes Rochefort 6, Bush Noel, Kerst Pater, Grimbergen Winter, Chimay Bleue, Delirium Noel and N’Ice Chouffe. Mr Smiles would double up on Kerst Pater and Grimbergen Winter as he wouldn’t like to share these! Do let me know what would be in your 12 Days of Belgian Christmas Beer Crate. May be there are a few Mr Smiles and I would like! Cheers!