Chez Moeder Lambic. Bob and I managed to try a number of new ones, including more Christmas beers, just in time to boost that holiday spirit.
First on the menu was Hop Harvest 2010 from De Ranke brewery, which also makes the plummy Guldenberg, the hop-happy XX Bitter, and the pitch black Noir de Dottignies. Hop Harvest 2010 is indeed what you'd expect: um, hoppy. It's bordering on piney even. But it was a little disappointing, to be honest, because undermining the bitter, dry crispiness was something a bit sweet and syrupy. I was thinking it would be a bit more refreshing than it turned out to be.
Affligem Christmas, Tongerlo Christmas Amber, and the other Christmas beers I've had lately have in common? Still, Père Noël does have something that evokes the season in it: some warming spices like nutmeg and, more obviously, a bit of candied orange peel. Very yummy.
Tourney Blonde and the outstanding Saison Cazeau. The taste of Tournay Noël is lightly smoky -- or maybe that should be, mildly burnt -- and somewhat sweet, with some rich biscuity flavours, cinnamon, nutmeg and licorice. The aftertaste almost edges toward that of a vinegar-like Belgian brown ale, but don't let that put you off. All its flavours blend very nicely, creating a taste that is complex and multi-layered, yet still unified -- both very rich and very mild at the same time. It's just incredibly smooth.