The Belgian brewers have a strong tradition of brewing up special Christmas beers (bières de Noël), often special stronger ales than the brewery’s usual lineup, and many are spiced to evoke the tastes and aromas of the holidays. (Of course, American brewers have long adopted this same tradition with their own beers!) Belgium is even home to an annual Christmas Beer Festival that is taking place this weekend, in its 18th year I believe, and features some 170 Belgian Christmas and winter beers.
Today’s pick, Gouden Carolus Christmas, is one such beer, with a bit of interesting history behind it; apparently the brewery, Brouwerij Het Anker, had their Christmas beer(s) on hiatus for 38 years before adding Gouden Carolus Noël into the lineup in 2002 and reviving their own tradition.
Thirty-eight years we had to miss the Christmas beer but in 2002 the tradition was restored with Gouden Carolus Christmas. It’s a strong, dark ruby red beer with character and contains an alcohol percentage of 10.5 % VOL. Brewed in August, the beer rests a few months to reach an optimal balance. Three kinds of hops and six different kinds of herbs and spices define the rich taste of this Christmas beer.
This is one of the most highly-regarded Christmas beers to come out of Belgium, and one anyone would be lucky to find under their tree.