The Kerstbierfestival held in Essen, Belgium in December drew a sold out crowd of Christmas beer fans from 34 nationalities and visitors from 14 different US States, 3 Canadian, and 2 Chinese Provinces.
Participants are surveyed to determine the top 10 Christmas Beers of the festival. For the 9th time, Stille Nacht by De Dolle Brouwers won top ranking. Fans of this blog will know that Stille Nacht is Santa’s favorite as well.
The 2017 Kerstbierfestival Top 10 Christmas Beers
1. Stille Nacht – De Dolle Brouwers
2. Schuppenboer Grand Cru Whisky Barrel Aged – Het Nest
3. Gouden Carolus Christmas – Het Anker
4. Sint Bernardus Christmas Ale – St. Bernardus
5. L’Ensemble BA Montalcino – Dochter v/d Korenaar
6. Murder – Crow Mountain (Anders)
7. Jule Maelk Rhum Ed. – To Øl (Proefbrouwerij)
8. Winterkoninkske Haspeng. Gr. Cru Am. Oak Fin. – Kerkom (Proefbrouwerij)
9. Jule Maelk Cognac Ed. – To Øl (Proefbrouwerij)
10. Chimay Grande Réserve Vieillie 2016 (Cogn.) – Brouwerij Abb. N.D. de Scourmont
The good news for global Christmas beer fans is two of the top beers, Gouden Carolus Christmas and St. Bernardus Christmas Ale, are widely available.
Trappist brewery Chimay has barrel aged their Grande Reserve Ale (Blue) for the first time. Historically, the Grande Reserve was Chimay’s Christmas Beer.
I don’t have a bottle yet, but here’s a video from
It’s no secret that Santa’s favorite Christmas beer is De Dolle Brouwers’ Stille Nacht. It’s a Belgian Strong Ale made with brewing equipment from a long-defunct brewery in the eastern Belgium town of Esen. Several friends bought the equipment in the 1980s called themselves the Mad Brewers (De Dolle Brouwers) and began to brew beers with life – yeast – still in them. The little guy on the bottle is often mistaken for a snowman, but is actually a yeast, representing the living nature of bottle-conditioned beer.
Stille Nacht Reserva was birthed after an accidental yeast overdose in 2000 exploded bottles as
Last year I bought a few bottles of several Christmas beers to age. Tonight I pulled a bottle of Corsendonk Christmas Ale to see how aging affected this beer.
It pours reddish brown with a two-finger head that stays firm. Obviously, the year of aging hasn’t changed the carbonation.
It tastes very much like a fresh batch (see my review here), but the whole beer is knit together and the flavors are better integrated. The carbonation is smoother, the dark fruit notes pop, and the “sharp” edges of a fresh Corsendonk are aged off in this year old ale. I like it better.
Throw a few bottles in your cellar and taste a aged Corsendonk for yourself… next year.
Another Belgian, this time from Brasserie Des Légendes in Ath, Belgium. Noël Des Géants is an unpasteurized, unfiltered, bottle conditioned Belgian spiced strong ale.
Noël Des Géants pours golden rose with a white head of fine foam. This is a spiced beer, but the aroma begins with
The brewer is Slaapmutske; the brewery is De Proef Brouwerij in Belgium. This is a malty Christmas beer called Kerstmutske Christmas, which means Christmas Nightcap.
Kerstmutske Christmas Nightcap pour cloudy mahogany with a cream head that reduces to what looks like
Stille Nacht Reserva is a legionary ale with an accidental beginning. De Dolle Brouwers (The Mad Brewers) began brewing in the early 1980s and used yeast provided by Rodenbach. In 1999, the new owners of Rodenbach discontinued selling yeast to De Dolle so a batch of Stille Nacht was made with a new yeast – that exploded bottles after a while.
What to do? De Dolle couldn’t sell bottles that were exploding due to over carbonation from bottle conditioning. Instead, the brewers poured the beer into used wine barrels and aged it for 18 months before