You can’t talk about Christmas beers without mentioning the beers of Belgium, and each year I try to make sure to feature several Belgians on the Advent Calendar, so today’s beer pick is likely the first of several: Cuvée de Noël from Brasserie St-Feuillien.
Cuvée de Noël is a Strong Dark Ale that spends a good amount of time in the cool cellars of the brewery before being released. It’s 9% alcohol by volume and bottle-conditioned, and judging by the description there are some mystery spices used during brewing:
This beer has a generous head – compact and firm. Its slightly brown colour is the result of the roasted barley. It has a dark ruby brown colour and a very intense aroma. The aromatic herbs and spices used greatly enhance its delicious smell. This beer is full-bodied with a smoothness that is the result of the synergy of caramelised malts, carefully controlled fermentation and long cold storage. St-Feuillien Cuvée de Noël has a very subtle bitterness that is the dominant flavour in this harmonious ale that strikes a perfect balance between all the different ingredients.
A “cuvée” in brewing terms generally refers to a blending of batches to produce a specialty beer. With Cuvée de Noël you will definitely find that and more.