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And The Valley Drinks: St. Bernardus Christmas Ale

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Yes, still ‘tis the season.

St. Bernardus Christmas Ale
Jordan Grove

King's Day is coming up in a couple of days which means that the Christmas season is almost over and we'll be transitioning into the Mardi Gras season. One of my favorite beers to have over Christmas is St. Bernardus Christmas Ale. Because my birthday falls close to Christmas, my wife decided one year to surprise me with a beer. That's already a pretty difficult task since I have drank a lot of beer, but several years ago she surprised me with this one and it's become a beer she now gets me annually. This year was no exception.

St. Bernardus brews several fine beers like the Abt 12 and Tripel, which are fantastic examples of Belgian styled beers, and I highly recommend both but my favorite is the Christmas Ale. This beer comes in a 22oz caged and corked bottle which I've still seen available at some specialty beer stores in the Baton Rouge area, and there may even still be 6 packs of 12oz beers available in some specialty stores in the New Orleans area.

From the back of the bottle it states: “St. Bernardus Christmas Ale is the youngest descendant in the illustrious family of delicious Abbey Ales by Brewery St. Bernardus. This specialty beer of 10% alc. vol. is characterized by its deep dark colour, with a creamy, thick head and a full, almost velvety taste with a fruity nose. It's a seasonal ale, brewed annually for the holiday season. The long winter nights are perfect moments to savour this ale with or without friends and to enjoy its unique, complex taste and after-taste.

All the right spices are there for Christmas – there's nutmeg, cinnamon, gingerbread, brown sugar, dark fruits like prunes and raisins, and a touch of caramel and vanilla as it warms up. While this beer packs a solid punch at 10% abv, it never is overpowering in alcohol and you only get the warmth that it provides with no aggressive burns that you can sometimes get with these higher abv beers.

This is really one of my favorite beers during the holidays, and one of my favorite beers period. I highly recommend it and if you see available even now I would pick it up and crack it up as it's perfect for these cooler temps we've been having here in South Louisiana.

5 out of 5 stars.