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Posted at 3:27 PM ET, 11/19/2010

Something for the weekend: Seasonal Belgian beers at Beck

By Fritz Hahn

For fans of Belgian beer, this really is the most wonderful time of the year. Some love the light fruit and grassy hop aromas of a saison beer in the summer, but for me, nothing can beat the richness of a Belgian Christmas beer, full of roasted malt, dark fruit and complex spices. Bold in taste and high in alcohol, these are perfect brews for a cold night.

Many of the area's better beer bars will have some Belgian classics available over the next month or two, including Gouden Carolus Noel or Delirium Noel, but every year I wind up making several trips to Brasserie Beck. The draft lineup is predominantly Belgian all year, and it really shines around the holidays. According to general manager Thor Cheston, Belgian seasonal beers should start hitting the taps with the next week, and he's planned a knockout lineup of six imports, including Scaldis Noel, St. Bernardus Christmas Ale, Noel de Silly and St. Feuillien Cuvee de Noel, plus Schlafly Christmas from the Schlafly brewery in St. Louis.

The bartenders at Beck are good about offering small sample tastes if something catches your fancy, but from my tastings last year, Scaldis, Silly and St. Bernardus are the ones to go for, in that order. Supplies are limited; when beers are gone, they're gone.

Expect these beers to sell for between $10 and $14 a glass, which is why Beck's daily happy hour is such a godsend: All drafts, including the Christmas beers, are half-price every day between 5 and 7. (As my colleague Alex Baldinger discovered to his dismay last weekend, the late-night 10:30-to-close happy hour seems to have disappeared.)

If you want to move beyond the drafts, there's also a strong list of a dozen holiday beers in bottles, in sizes ranging from 12 ounces to corked 750 milliliter offerings (the size of a wine bottle). The list here include Serafijn Christmas Angel, Nogne O Winter Ale, Corsendonk Christmas Ale and Dieu du Ciel! Solstice d'Hiver.

By Fritz Hahn  | November 19, 2010; 3:27 PM ET
Categories:  Bars and Clubs, Holiday  
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