On the fifth day of Christmas my trusty assistant brought to me a St. Bernardus Christmas Ale;
Left Hand Polestar;
Shiner Holiday Cheer;
Great Lakes Christmas Ale;
and a Sierra Nevada DevESTATEtion.
Almost half way through the 12 Beers of Christmas with just over 24 hours until Christmas Day. Clearly things are getting lazy because the picture cuts off the top of the bottle. The backup picture cuts off the entire right half of the bottle - and both pictures were taken before I started drinking. On to the beer...
This beer is almost made in Trappist Monasteries. St. Bernardus Christmas Ale is made in what was once a cheese factory known as "Refuge Notre Dame de St. Bernard" in Belgium. For a time, the Trappist brews were licensed to the owners of what is now St. Bernardus. Sadly, for us, the monks ended their experiment in commercialization and returned to their roots of brewing only for themselves and a few local pubs. Clearly these monks are not familiar with the roots of American commercialization (and greed).
Sint Bernardus - Watou left us with a very nice almost Trappist replacement. The aroma is sweet but it's just a setup. The taste is distinctly Belgian but not so sweet that it overpowers the beer. It does have a spicy tang with a molasses feel that really suits the holiday season. The dark, chestnut brown color just feels cozy. It's like drinking an ugly Christmas sweater (which is a compliment since these sweaters are apparently fashionable now).