The best beer in the world, by some accounts, is the elusive Trappist Westvleteren 12. From 1946 until 1992 the monks of St. Sixtus in Westvleteren contracted with St. Bernardus in the neighboring village of Watou of Southwest Belgium to make the beer for them. Now St. Bernardus makes a full line of Abbey Ale including this spectacular Christmas Beer.
The Watou area, on the Belgian side of the border with France, is famous for hops. St. Bernardus has their own hops fields next to the brewery.
The St. Bernardus Christmas Ale is a Quadrupel style, weighing in at 10% ABV. It pours dark with a thick head of foam produced by the brewery’s proprietary yeast. It is a complex beer with loads of flavors – cinnamon, nutmeg, malts, fruit, yeasty banana, and ginger. There’s a sweetness, without being cloying, of molasses or candy sugar. The complex flavors produce a long finish.
The special joy of this beer is its wide distribution. It is easy to find. I consider it a go-to Christmas beer!
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