Friday, December 13, 2013

No Easy Way to Open Noel

Gouden Carolus Noel
Brouwerij Het Anker

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Dark Ale | 10% ABV

The first thing that I want to talk about is opening the bottle.
This was a two-man job -- A two man, pair of pliers, screwdriver and hand gripper kind of job.

Halfway through the struggle the cork started to tear, and I thought - we are going to lose a lot of good liquid tonight… but finally she gave way, and then due to our mighty strength, my boyfriend and I continued to speak like Arnold Schwarzenegger during the remainder of the tasting. I am pretty sure we were both perspiring… so if you want to continue to read this post in the voice of the Terminator, feel free…

This is some airtight beer. The brewers obviously know their stuff and how to keep it SUPAH fresh. They’ve been at this game since 1471. (!!!)

Since 1471 the Beguine sisters baked bread, brewed beer, grew vegetables or nursed the ill. That same year, Charles the Bold granted the beguine sisters of Mechelen the permission to brew beer for their private use, completely free of duties and excise taxes. Four years earlier, in 1467 no less than 900 Beguines welcomed Charles the Bold during his visit to Mechelen. For more than three centuries, until 1865, they brewed their beer traditionally. They’ve been perfecting their craft ever since …

The Christmas beer, Goulden Carolus Noel took a 38 year hiatus somewhere in the middle and was restored in 2002. Brewed in August, the beer rests a few months to reach an optimal balance. Three kinds of hops and six different kinds of herbs and spices define the rich taste of this Christmas beer.

So now that we’ve stopped breathing heavy, let’s taste this suckah’

To the glass: Hazy red / amber brown, very small beige head that dissipated quickly. Particles are floating around in the effervescent bubbles.

To the nose: Oak, cranberries, apple, molasses, ‘cigar’ tobacco, and alcohol

To the tongue: Medium bodied mouth-feel with a fizzy start and a chewy finish. Strong boozy champagne flavor, chocolate, red apples. There’s definitely a battle between sweet and tart going on for sure. The finish is dried fruit, raisons and then creeps in the alcohol. It’s a little numbing on the back of the tongue as well. (What are we drinking?)

Initially I didn’t like it. But like any good blogger, I kept drinking it. And like any good craft beer lover, my appreciation grew. I am still glad that split the 16 oz bottle with my BF, I wouldn’t want to drink this all night. I would definitely keep tasting more Belgians though. It’s always good to keep an open mind.

Pairing this would be tough.
My boyfriend said a cigar for sure. I am thinking cheese course; a plate with tart, sharp cheeses, dates, figs and nuts. That would really go well with this pint.

Tony – what’s your take on Belgians?

1 comment:

Tony Leone said...

Well... knowing that Phil does cigars, then we'll have to try that pairing in the near future. But I agree that I'm such a newbie when it comes to Belgians. Although I paired a fantastic dubbel with Thanksgiving dinner and it was SPOT ON.