Christmas (beer) time again - Belgian Beer Experience
 
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Something Sinterklass and Pere Noel could agree on.
I love Christmas. For the special seasonal beers, that is. Here in Belgium, the highlight is undoubtedly the annual trip (or maybe even twice per winter if you have enough visitors) to the beer shop to load up on Christmas beers. It's fun to see who has added a new one since last Christmas or one that you haven't been able to find in prior years. They're nearly all dark beers, high in alcohol and conducive to enjoying fireside or over a hearty winter stew or hot meal. Hell, these beers are good enough to just enjoy on their own with a cone of hot frites!

This year my favorite was the Corsendonk Christmas Ale. I love both Corsendonk tripel and dark anyway. So it was no surprise that the Christmas was delicious - rich velvety smooth feel with strong tones of chocolate, citrus and malt as it goes down. It's beautifully colored in the light too - a rich darkness balanced well with amber and chocolatey tones.

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Stille Nacht christmas beer from Dolle Brouwers
My favorite all-time Xmas beer is probably still Stille Nacht from Dolle Browers brewery in West Flanders. This family-owned brewery cranks out nothing but outstanding, high-alcohol beers with seasonal offerings for both Christmas and Easter. Stille Nacht is 12% ABV with a cloudy amber appearance and wonderful, complex smell of citrus and caramel malt. The taste is sweet but not too sweet, IMO, with hints again of citrus and, at least for me, nutmeg and caramel. It really says Christmas, this beer.

(PS: I love this brewery, as a prior post explains. They recently launched a stout for their US distribution. I've never seen it in Belgium but would be curious to taste it. There aren't a lot of Belgian stouts and few are anything special.)

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