There are certain annual signifiers that usher in the Christmas season. Nativity scenes, poinsettias, star-topped spruces—all carry the power to transform December into Yuletide. But all of those things feel empty without a bottle of St. Bernardus Christmas Ale in your palm. Warm as a roasted chestnut, this abbey-made Belgian quad wraps up all the flavors of the season into a neat package.
The glowing, grinning visage of St. Bernardus on the label of Christmas Ale is a sight as welcome as St. Nick himself. Poured into a traditional tulip glass, the beer is Old World dark, like a goblet of molasses. A four-inch layer of beige foam bubbles up over the rim.
Trappist ales have a tendency to smell a bit medicinal, with the mix of anise, ginseng, and licorice rising from the glass. Christmas Ale summons the same cough syrup sensations, but the big, ripe esters of plum, fig, and cherry make the beer feel fresh. Breathe deeply and you can taste the fruit and spice all over the back of your tongue
Such an experiential beer should only come once a year.”
Christmas Ale’s deep red fruits flourish in the flavor, but there’s much more spice, with ticklings of clove and star anise rising up as you sip. Such an experiential beer should only come once a year.
Forget winter warmers, and leave the cookies and cocoa to Santa. St. Bernardus has brewed up a spicy, fruity beast of a beer. Pair a bottle with a plate of figgy pudding and rest assured that you did Christmas right.