Saturday, December 24, 2011

On the Twelfth Day of Christmas... true love gave to me - Scaldis (Bush De) Noël, Brasserie Dubuisson Frères sprl, Leuze-Pipaix, Belgium.

We've made it to the end my friends—tonight is Christmas Eve and this is nearly the final post of my trek through the festive world of holiday beer. I've tried new things and learned a few tidbits along the way on this yuletide journey. I've decide to end with a special one—Scaldis Noël. It shares something in common with that jolly old elf, and ambassador of holiday spirit, Santa Claus—they both go by more than one name. In English speaking countries the man in red is known as Kris Kringle, St. Nick and Father Christmas, in the Netherlands and Belgium he's Sinterklaas, and in French it's Père Noël. There are some differences but, generally, everybody is talking about the same guy. Just like Santa and his multiple monikers, the beer I know and love in the U.S. as Scaldis Noël, is referred to by another name in it's home country of Belgium. In French-speaking Wallonia, this festive brew is known as Bush De Noël*. I suspect the name switch-er-oo is to keep people, stateside, from thinking they're buying an Anheuser-Busch product. What traditional Belgian brewer wouldn't want that association?

Yeouch! That was a little naughty, wasn't it? Sorry Santa, er, uh, Père Noël.

It pours a beautiful amber-red with a head like a slice of pound cake. It smells yeasty and fruity, like ripe plums smothered in toffee. There the slightest spice in the aroma as well—nutmeg or mace—with an almond, almost marzipan, quality to it. Like the Harvey's, it gives off a nice alcoholic tone. After a swirl in the glass and a nice inhale, the vapors stay in your nasal cavities like wasabi. Drawing a sip, an alcoholic warmness fills your mouth. It starts with flavors of dried fruit—like figgy dates and sweet raisins. There are hints of cocoa, sweet cherry and it finishes with a peppery, tart apple snap. It's crisp and surprisingly light for a beer tipping the scales at 12%. Whatever you you want to call the the man with the sack full of toys or this Belgian strong ale, what really matters is they both deliver something great!

That's it folks—The Twelve Beers of Christmas. I'll post a final wrap-up on Sunday. Everyone please have a warm and wonderful holiday, and I hope everyone's gets that special beery gift they asked for!

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

*Not to be confused with the delectable, holiday confection—
Bûche de Noëlalso known as the Yule Log!

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