Affligem "Noël Christmas Ale"
Belgian Strong Dark Ale - Opwijk, Belgium / Winter
9 per cent ABV
The winter holiday season is an optimal time to appreciate spices in our food and drink. This abbey ale (contract brewed by Heineken for the Belgian Benedictine monastery of Affligem) fits the bill, with both a moniker and medley of spices to put you in the mood for greeting the season. This reddish amber ale, spiced with sweet orange peels, aniseed and caraway, also delivers flavors of toasted malt and dark fruits such as prune and cherry. An aroma of cocoa, cinnamon and clove adds to the celebratory vibe. Note that the flavors will intensify as this beer warms, so allow it some time to warm up a bit, or enjoy the evolving flavors as you sip. As this strong ale has a Champagne-like second fermentation resulting in high carbonation, drink it from a goblet-style glass; the bulbous shape will help trap the scent and flavors while maintaining a lively head.