03 February 2010

Last of the winter beer

Spring is almost upon us (yeah, I know that Spring in Ireland officially begins on 1st February -- that's just mass self-delusional wishful thinking if you ask me). So I've been clearing out the final few Christmas ales I bought at the arse end of 2009. Not that there's anything wrong with drinking beers out of season, I just don't trust what'll happen to them when the house temperatures start going up.

Among the most outwardly seasonal is Gouden Carolus Christmas, a whopping 10.5%-er from a Belgian brewery already well known for its big full-flavoured beers. It pours a dark shade of amber, though without much by way of nose: normally I'd expect those funky Belgian yeast notes to be jumping out of the glass, but they're barely present. Nor is there any big boozy heat either. I was quite wrong-footed by the whole thing. Instead there's a sharp herbal bitterness to the taste, exactly like liquorice to me. The body is remarkably thin, though mercifully it's not too fizzy. And yet despite this thinness, the flavour runs for miles, leaving a long-lasting aniseed echo in almost exactly the way pastis does.

Yes, it's the Pernod-as-beer you've been waiting for all these years.


  1. I read a lot of these beer blogs and neither want to drink the grog or view beer in the pretentious fashion it’s written about. I like this stuff, you obviously like your grog and write about it in a manner that enthuses me want to try one. Keep it up. Pick a pongy one thats dirt cheap and I might even go to the bother of necking some.

  2. Why, thank you sir.

    But you live in the UK: all your beer is dirt cheap compared to here.

  3. I too have my leftover winter beers that I just didnt get to. It is about time for me to clear them out. (Although the 5 inches of snow that I got last night says to let them stay)

  4. It's a full year since I tried Gouden Carolus Christmas. I made a note in my diary: next December, clear de Biertempel's shelves of this beer. Sad to say, I haven't been able to travel over there at all this year.

    I thought this was a magnificent brew. I don't recall any aniseed notes, but don't imagine that I would have found them unpleasant: I do rather like Pernod!