Editor's Note: To help you get in the spirit, we'll be featuring a Christmas beer or a Winter Warmer every day for 12 days. Got a favorite seasonal brew? Let us know in the comments.
This Christmas beer from Brouwerij Slaapmutske tells you pretty much all you need to know in the scent: toffee pudding, sticky prunes and dates, hints of mulling spice and orange zest. Let it warm up a bit—it is a nightcap, after all—and you'll be wrapped in rich molasses and toffee flavors and hints of brown bread with raisins. This beer is brewed without spices; it doesn't need them, since there's plenty of fruity yeast esters and deep tones from the malt.
There's a slight tang, too, like pomegranate and orange peel, which balances the heft of this 7.4% ABV Belgian Strong Dark Ale. Fans of dubbels (and even doppelbocks) will be at home with this Christmas tipple, but it's not the most complex beer we've tried in this style. Earthy and fruity, smooth and decadent, it lacks mystery but would still be tasty with aged cheese or slow-braised short ribs (glaze them with pomegranate!). Or cross over into gingerbread territory. This beer could take it.