Who doesn’t love stocking up on your favorite holiday seasonals and winter warmers as the holidays approach? I gotta say, I like it just a bit more than Christmas shopping. I guess if you buy a bottle or two for someone in your office for a white elephant exchange then, technically, it is Christmas shopping.
I don’t know about you, but I can only put down so many 10%+ strong Belgian ales in a month. It was our assumption that our members were right there with me when we decided to slot De Ranke’s Père Noël with Chernyy Medved, a 13% Russian Imperial Stout, this December.
I love everything about this beer. Love the label, with Santa lovingly embracing a tulip glass of the stuff. Love that it’s not overdone with holiday spices that often take away from the beer itself. And, of course, I love the flavor profile.
The brewery’s description, “a Christmas ale, though very different from any other Christmas ales you might know,” is both accurate and, at the same time, pretty vague. It pours like the Big Elf himself conjured it up with a massive, thick head that sticks around like the abominable snowman. It’s hazy. It’s orange. It’s making my mouth water just writing this sentence. It starts with bitter, herbal hop notes that mingle nicely with the yeast profile. There’s a bit-o-spice going on, but not too much. The emphasis is definitely on the core, the dry, bitter, malt and hop components of the beer, rather than its additions. Really, really drinkable.
You can only get your mitts on it once a year, and since less than 250 cases managed to make it to the U.S., it’s worthy of coveting to be sure. Between this one and Chernyy Medved, a 13% Russian Imperial Stout brewed with smoked wood, pine, vanilla, and cherries, our December line up is as solid as it gets and will make an impressive gift for the beer lover on your list. This is one of those thangs that you see for someone else and end up getting for yourself, so be careful!
And if you do, save some money by using our rare beer club coupons on your order.