Het Anker - Gouden Carolus Christmas
Serving Temperature:45–46° F
Suggested Glassware:Tulip, Chalice, Goblet, or Teku Glass
This month we’re happy to bring to our Rare Beer Club members the fantastic Het Anker Gouden Carolus Christmas, brewed with three different Belgian hops and six different herbs and spices. In recent years, this brew has been available in only ten states, and in ridiculously small amounts, so we’re very excited to have had the opportunity to snag enough of this beautiful beer to offer to you this year. It pours a deep ruby red with a striking off-white head made of dense foam that has a lengthy retention. The aromas are as exquisite as they are complex, with notes of candied fruit, such as cranberries and blackberries, orange peel, and licorice. A few more swirls of the glass reveal caramelized sugar, dark coffee, and sweet baking spices. There are many layers of aromas arising as the liquid gains a few degrees in temperature, with hints of ginger snap cookies, brown sugar, molasses, toffee, and dried red flowers. The malt expressions are sweet and savory, complemented by candy sugar and notes of dark chocolate. The aromas invoke celebratory times even in the midst of dark and cold winter days.
As we take our first sip of Het Anker Gouden Carolus Christmas we are pleased to find all the wonderful aromas we encountered are present as pronounced flavors. We’re first met with the candied fruit notes, and we’re reminded of dense fruit cake, Christmas cookies, and holiday cheer. Dark brown sugar and molasses flavors are accompanied by toasty toffee, dark cocoa, warm spices, chewy candied berries, and lightly floral bittering hops. The dark caramelized malt carries the candied fruit and spice flavors well, without feeling cloyingly sweet, and the liquid is nicely attenuated leaving the palate ready for the next sip.
The Het Anker Gouden Carolus Christmas boasts a robust, harmoniously balanced profile that envelops the palate, yet it manages to avoid being weighty or syrupy. The mousse is characterized by fine bubbles, yielding a smooth and creamy texture with a delicate lather. This texture enhances the enjoyment of its rich strata of malts, a diverse array of fruit flavors, subtle spicy undertones, a hint of hoppy bitterness, and a comforting toasty warmth that brings a smile to your face. As we savored every drop, the Het Anker Gouden Carolus Christmas concluded with a surprisingly dry and grippy finish, further deepening our admiration for this intricately crafted beer.
The fine Het Anker Gouden Carolus Christmas will age well over the next few years; though, being brewed every August to be ready for the Christmas season, drinking the beer fresh is satisfying and purposeful. It can be enjoyed with your Christmas goose or ribeye roast with all the trimmings, indulgent chocolate desserts, holiday cookies, and family and friends. As this beer is not widely available in 750ml bottles, we recommend grabbing more than you think you’ll need as they are perfect to bring along to the myriad of holiday parties you’ll no doubt attend. They also make a great gift for the all those beer lovers you know. Cheers!
This month we’re happy to bring to our Rare Beer Club members the fantastic Het Anker Gouden Carolus Christmas.
The Het Anker brewery can trace its roots back to the founding of a brewery in 1471 by a group of Beguines, a semi-monastic religious order active at that time in the Low Countries. In 1872, the brewery was purchased by Louis Van Breedam, who ultimately dubbed it with its current name, Het Anker (The Anchor). He installed a modern brewing system including a state-of-the-art steam boiler, bringing the brewery decidedly into the modern age.
A further modernization of the brewery was accomplished in 1990 under the leadership of Charles Leclef, who represents the fifth generation of Van Breedam family brewers. In the same year, they opened a three-star hotel at the brewery site, and in 2010 they overhauled and relaunched their attached “Brasserie” restaurant.
Het Anker is most well-known for their line of Gouden Carolus beers which they began producing after WWII. Currently the line consists of their Classic, a strong dark ale, along with a tripel, an amber, imperial dark and blond ales, a smoked beer, a Christmas ale which is featured this month, and others – many of them spiced with herbs as was common in ancient recipes. They began distilling whisky from their Gouden Carolus Tripel in 2010, and currently also produce a line of sake.
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