Today I’ve selected the “first Strong Winter Ale” from Brewery Ommegang out of New York, Ommegang Adoration. (Is this really their first Winter Ale?) Their own description may well be my favorite of the month, something I couldn’t have come up with better myself:
Ommegang Adoration, brewed in the authentic style of Belgian winter, or noel beer, is dark, strong, malty and assertively spiced.
At 10% abv Adoration is not a lightweight beer, and is best sipped before a roaring fire, or on a sleigh ride over the hills to Grandma’s house. (But let someone else drive.) It would also be a tasty accompaniment to dark roasts and wild game. Even at the strong abv, the beer is well-balanced and not at all hot or fiery. The dark malts give it lush, malty flavors and aromas, strongly complemented by the five spices, including coriander, cumin, mace, cardamom and grains of paradise. Hopping is modest, as befits such a beer.
That sounds just about right to me.