De Dolle Brouwers of Esen, Belgium is an old-school brewer using very old equipment bought from an out-of-business brewery in the early 1980s. Their name means “The Mad Brewers.” Stille Nacht is their Christmas beer. I’ll confess, that this is my favorite Christmas beer. I’m reviewing a 2013 bottle aged one year.
The photo shows two bottles of Stille Nacht. If you look closely you can see a few differences
Shockingly, Brussels has only three breweries, Cantillon of lambic fame which has been around since 1900 and two new-comers including Brasserie de la Senne since 2010. Senne produces an innovative and consistently good line up of beer. X-mas Zinnebir is their Christmas ale. I’m reviewing a one year aged bottle.
X-mas Zinnebir pours cloudy reddish-brown with a fine head that disappears quickly. Dried plums, raisins, nuts, spices and sweet malts
Gordon began the modern tradition of Christmas ales or Kerstbier in 1924 with Gordon Xmas Ale. Brewed by John Martin, the 1909 British transplant to Belgium. It’s a Belgian Strong Ale that says “Happy Christmas”!
It should be noted that the bottle that I am tasting is aged. It’s labeled 07.11.14, which if the brewer uses a 3 year dating system means this bottle was brewed in 2011.
Gordon Xmas pours mahogany with no head. It has wood, sweet malts, and a touch of
O.B.E.R. (Objective Beer tasters Essen Region) organizes its Christmas Beer Festival every year. For two days visitors can taste about 200 Belgian Christmas and winter beers. This year’s festival is December 20 and 21 in Essen, Belgium.
While plans are still in the works, the Kerstbierfestival has announced a list of confirmed Christmas beers for 2014. Twenty draft beers and 3 special beers brewed for the festival join 140 others. Here’s what the festival had to say about some of the special gems:
Abbaye des Rocs Spéciale Noël is an excellent strong Belgian ale with loads of sweet and spicy flavor with no added sugar. The malts do all the work!
Spéciale Noël pours deep amber with a tan head that turns to lace after a few minutes. Sweet malts strike the nose with a touch of spice, vanilla, and banana. On tasting it, I’m reminded of a dark Triple. In fact,
Père Noël Belgian Christmas Ale by Brouwerij De Ranke of Belgium is a treat for a cold winter’s night. The bitterness is a refreshing change from the often sweet and spiced Christmas beers.
Père Noël pours hazy copper with a large off-white head that dissipates to lace. Aromas of bread and malt with a touch of banana. It tastes sweet at first then moves to
I’m so excited! The elves were out scouting around for some aged Christmas beer gems and look what they turned up! A 750ml bottle of Stille Nacht Reserva 2010 by De Dolle Brouwers of Esen, Belgium.
Do I need to remind you that Stille Nacht is my favorite Christmas beer? The 2010 Reserva was aged in Bordeaux wine barrels for 25 months before it’s release.
There have only been a few Stille Nacht Reserva releases 2000, 2005, 2008, and 2010. The Stille Nacht Reserva 2015 is in barrels aging as I write.
This bottle is going in the cellar, but I promise to open it this Christmas season and share a review with you.