One of the beers Stan asked about when selecting one for the Advent Calendar was Affligem Noël, and I realized it was a Christmas ale I had not yet featured over the years. This is a classic Belgian Abbey Christmas beer, a Strong Dark Ale that is 9% alcohol by volume, and is rich and complex, corked and bottle conditioned.
Lew had a nice description of this beer recently:
So here I am, finishing up a beer that has just gotten better and better as it warms up. 9%, and my lips agree: this is a big boy beer. The nose is full of a pleasantly sweet-tart mix of pit fruit — plum, sour cherry — and a dark chocolate background. The beer itself matches that, with an intensely fizzy carbonation that is not unpleasant at all. What surprises me is the degree of attenuation; if you don’t like Chimay Red/Blue for their sweet thickness, this is your beer. The Noël has a very light and drinkable body for that 9% ABV, and the fruit really cleans up the end.
This would be a lovely addition to your Christmas stocking—or a great gift to any beer geeks you know.