St Bernardus darks are firmly established on my list of top ten Belgian beers, St Bernardus Christmas continues a healthy run of Christmas beer tastings on this blog.
I’d bought two bottles for two separate occasions, but unfortunately, one fell through. Bob didn’t make it here to share the first with me yesterday as expected. You might consider him another victim of Europe’s air travel chaos, but his was a snow travel story with a happy ending, because, strangely, the confusion meant he somehow made it back to his family in the US a day earlier than expected. Still, bottle two was at the ready for another planned tasting with a friend this evening...
Immediately on popping the cork, I could already smell the classic St Bernardus aroma of rich, dark caramel and spices. The first sip was a bit of a disappointment, I have to admit, because it was so fumy, meaning the alcohol level was too strong. But that soon wore off, thankfully, as the booze wove its way into other flavours, notably a biscuity baseline supporting grilled dates and other dried fruits, as well as nutmeg.
“I like the initial bitter blast and then the slight sweetness at the end”, Jonathan said. He also rightly noted, “It was a bit too fizzy at first, but it calmed down after a few minutes.”
In all, an excellent beer, though I think I’ll let that second bottle sit in the cellar for another year and see how it matures. I bet it evolves from excellent to fantastic. We’ll see next Yuletide season.
St Bernardus Christmas is also a perfect beer with which to end this year. I’ll be back in the new year, dear readers, with a whole bunch of new posts to take the blog from this, beer tasting number 290, to number 300 and beyond. Until then, best wishes to all, and to all a good beer.