Christmas is almost upon us. As I write this, hunkered in against a winter storm, a beer that will warm me to the bones only seem appropriate. While the package is small, this one is full of plenty of Christmas cheer. The Beer of the Week is Dubuisson’s Scaldis Noël.
It is the custom in Belgium custom to brew a beer a bit bolder and stronger as a holiday gift to loyal patrons. At 12.5% ABV, the little Scaldis Noël bottle contains one giant beer. It has a burnished ruby-copper color and a spicy aroma with notes of caramel and marzipan and peach. The taste is round, with hints of anise leading to a long warming finish. If it is snowing and you have a Yule-tide log—fire it up and sip a Scaldis Noël—Pieter Breughel couldn’t paint a more Belgian scene!
Great with food!
Suggested food pairings:
Triple crème cheeses, Christmas goose, Bûche de Noël, Tarte Tatin with butterscotch cream.
Scaldis Noël starts with a ruby amber pour and a light caramel head. The aroma is of ripe fruit and a kick of alcohol. Those expecting the rich sweetness of a barleywine will be in for a surprise at this beer is light in body yet full in flavor. Caramel and pitted fruits lead the way but don’t overwhelm the palate. The best way to describe Scaldis is as a Belgian Golden ale with deeper malt tones. The burn of alcohol finishes the beer but not in the way one might suspect from a 12% beer.
Scaldis is a perfect beer for the season for multiple reasons. First, there are multiple variations on the Noël label. The standard, as reviewed here, is great fresh or cellared. There is the Speciale which is fermented in the bottle and brings with it an additional kick of alcohol.
For those looking to ring in the New Year, the Prestige labels are a fun variation on the standard champagne. Bright and effervescent but undeniably Scaldis, these beers can be aged for future years or enjoyed today.
Whether it’s one of their many year-round releases or those fitting for our winter months, Scaldis is a brewery with which every beer lover should be familiar. With Christmas only days away, now is the time to visit your local bottle shop and grab a few to celebrate the occasion.