I know it's been a while but I'm delivering as promised!!! This is just the first of a few Christmas Ales I'll be reviewing until Christmas Day, and yes you can expect me to do one of my favorite line of all time: Abita.
But the first was one pointed out to me by my good friend, Theresa. She told me about it and explained the flavor and whatnot, but completely sold me on the fact that it came with a free chalice laced with a gold rim.
That's right. I love free shit.
So anyway, here's my overall analysis of a wonderful work of art from the heart of Belgium, this is Corsendonk Christmas Ale! Visit the brewery by clicking here!
Pictures courtesy of my wife's camera I stole while she was at work. Pictured is the 12oz bottle along with the free chalice enclosed in the 6-pack for $14.99.
The bottle really screams "CHRISTMAS!!!" at you. Most others kinda put on a little show, maybe add snowflakes or some crap to their label. but this one is colorful, snowy, has a star on it and everything. Unlike Brooklyn Lager which just barely changes the color of the label, this is a complete overhaul of its original format.
As you can see, the dark abbey style ale is very similar in color to the bottle itself, barely allowing any light to pass through. Most who revel over the thickness of a beer's head boast that you can float the bottle cap on the head, but with this brew, you could float a brick! It's so interesting because it allows you mix this heavy top head with a smooth and light body that really drinks like a crisp lager.
The aroma is pretty typical of a Christmas Ale with nice little warm notes of coffee, pecan and hazelnuts; but a little hit of metal and chemical is present due to its rustic hops.
Once again, the body is creamy yet crisp, not overbearing like a stout yet not watery like a lager. A very nice balance of flavor and ability to drink, not something you would normally expect out of a "spiced" ale.
Also, unlike most Christmas Ales, this isn't overly Christmas-y. Just the label. Although it still has those great notes of deep and heavy cinnamon and nutmeg along with a refreshing citrus zest; it's not too heavily present. You can still taste the slightly bitter hops and deep roasted malts through all the holiday flair.
My dad told me once before, "Christmas beer is the shit they put back in the tank because it wasn't good enough to drink then." You can clearly see what my opinion while I gently nurse the second bottle.
This was a nice introduction for me this year considering I usually skip on what I used to call novelty beers. If others produce the same quality as this one. I believe I will be tempted to try more than a few other Christmas Ales.
For a little bit of langiappe, here's the notes I took while drinking this beer. If you read carefully, the second to bottom line states "Heavy nuts." I need to get some better adjectives.