Scaldis Noël

A worthy indulgence
By MIKE MILIARD  |  December 19, 2007

Christmastime is here. And you know what that means: crowded stores, credit-card bills, and more public-service announcements and syndicated newspaper stories showing how to count calories and cocktails and make it through a minefield of holiday temptations.

Well, this column intends to do the opposite. It’s the time of year for indulging and imbibing. The nights are long and cold and dark, but the parties are warm and brightly lit. And this Belgian strong ale, brewed by Brasserie Dubuisson Frères in Leuze-Pipaix, Belgium, is a proper tribute to the season’s festivities.

It pours a tawny caramel color, dancing with tiny particulate from the in-bottle fermentation, a big brumous head rising up and sticking with lacy tenacity to the side of the glass. A whiff suggests a symphonically complex aroma — black cherries, dark chocolate, bitter coffee, and sweet toffee — while a first sip reveals a huge boozy character, with sweet notes of bubble-gum, tangerines, and bananas appearing as the beer warms from within like a potent cordial or after-dinner port.

Brewed with added sugar and huge quantities of caramel malt, steeped with hops for four to six weeks, and weighing in at a towering 13 percent ABV, this is a big, complex, heavy-hitting, heat-flashing beer. And it’s just the kind of gift you should give yourself this Christmas.

Available for $18 for a 750-ml bottle at Downtown Wine & Spirits, 225 Elm Street, in Somerville. Call 617.625.7777.

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