The French have a wonderful Christmas tradition, particularly rich in food (bûche de Noël anyone? In fact I’d love to have a beer based on this!), but France is not generally known as much for its beers. Fortunately there are a growing number of breweries that are endeavoring to change this; while France may always be known as a wine nation first, good beer is making inroads.
So today’s Advent calendar pick come from Brasserie Castelain, their Christmas ale Ch’Ti de Noël, a blonde Bière de Garde that is 7.5% abv. The brewery’s notes read:
The heart of Flanders and Artois, it is traditional in August and September to brew a special beer to warm the heart and soul during the holiday season. With the success of previous vintages of Christmas beer undeniable, the Brasserie Castelain is once again releasing a Christmas beer to the rejoice and pleasure of its customers.
Brilliant and wearing a thick dense head of foam, Ch’Ti de Noël is the result of a long and careful preparation. The brewers have carefully balanced the pale and specialty malts after brewing small-scale test batches. This beer is distinguished by its beautiful golden color and intense aromas.
Don’t forget the wheat malt, which helps to provide a soft texture and refreshing character to this winter Bière de Garde. Dry hopping gives a subtle bitterness to an exceptional beer appreciated by all. The use of noble varieties known for their finesse, particularly “Strisselspalt”, contributes to the brewing of a beer of great distinction. It is brewed using an old method of “home brew” so-called because of the infusion of hot water.
(I cleaned up the translation a bit; I don’t know what the deal is with the “so called home brew” but hey, it’s France.)