Brasserie Fantôme - Fantôme de Noel
- ABV: 10%
- Serving Temperature: 50–58° F
- Suggested Glassware: Snifter, Chalice or Tulip
While not the spirit of Christmas, Fantôme’s limited-release holiday beer does make our winter evenings more than a little bit more magical. This ever-evolving offering is said to be spiced with honey, caramel, black pepper, coriander and (per usual with Fantôme) a number of other special ingredients. Some call it the ultimate winter warmer. We’ve found it to be the perfect beer to share over the holidays—most especially for trying to figure out this year’s unique additions.
This is a beautiful beer from the pour onward. A deep ruby-orange color fills the glass, with tiny-bubbled, off-white foam on top leaving lasting lacing behind on the sides of our glasses. The aromatics: signature Fantôme, as we were hoping for. A complex, musty and lemon-zest tartness rises up, a signature farmhouse funk that appears as a calling card of so many of the great offerings from this charismatic Belgian brewery. We found, at least from the aromatics, that it would be pretty challenging to pick out any of the identified special ingredients. All of the final product’s edges were smoothed, detailed by savory notes and maybe a bit of notable black pepper.
Like all of the beer selections in this special offer, this beer’s potent ABV doesn’t stand in its way of being incredibly drinkable and lean. A subtle alcohol warmth carries red fruits, and all those intricacies suggested in the aroma begin to play out in rapid succession: zest, citrus and savory elements, a hint of honey’s rounded sweetness, that black pepper again—and a yeasty complexity that seems to keep on going. Notes of candy, vanilla. All kinds of funky richness.
This one should age just fine, developing notes that we can’t imagine ourselves being able to confidently predict. Sip this one fresh or give it some time. Served in Pinot glasses: a perfect, toasty, and palate-refreshing addition to one’s holiday meal (though do mind the 10% ABV).
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