Thursday, January 20, 2011


Growing up as a metal head, I had it burned into my brain that umlauts were cool. They represented awesome kick-assyness - if you were naming a band and you decided to put an umlaut in there somewhere (regardless of whether it was an appropriate use of it - I'm looking at you, Queensrÿche) you were making a definitive statement about your band, you, and how you viewed the world.

Now I realize that definitive statement was, in most cases, "I am a doüche bag." But that aside, when I saw Scaldis Noël Premium my mind said "This beer must rock!" Then, when I paid $18 for it, my mind said "You're an idiot!" Or maybe that was my wife. Regardless, I figured that, since I love holiday beers and, at 13% ABV, this was a big one, my enjoyment of this brew would outweigh my pangs of guilt over my fiscal irresponsibility.

A Belgian Strong Dark Ale, this version of Brasserie Dubuisson Freres' Scaldis Noël becomes "Premium" when it gets additional fermentation in the bottle. It gets its high alcohol content purely from fermentation (not freezing water out, etc). Upon popping the cork from the 750ml bottle and pouring the reddish amber brew into a glass, you're rewarded with a creamy, dense white head which lasts a LONG time. Floaty bits of yeast swirl in the glass as the bubbles snake their way up from the bottom to feed the head. The aroma was strong with alcohol and a grapey sweetness. The grapey aspect extended to the taste and especially the long finish on this beer - malty, almost cloyingly sweet, a little plummy. Reminded me very much of a figgy pudding in a glass, which I guess is appropriate for a holiday beer.

This is definitely a sipping beer, something you would share with a couple of friends and consume while reminiscing over days gone by - like that time you took that really hot chick to the Mötley Crüe concert and then as soon as you got there she bolted to hang with her friends near the front row and you ended up sitting by yourself the whole time. Good times.

NOTE: the one exception to the umlaut hindsight rule is Hüsker Dü - they do, in fact, rock.