Our beer reviewer, Mike Barkacs, wasn’t too impressed with Delirium Noel.
I tried to love this beer. I just can’t. I try it every year, hoping the otherwise fabulous Brouwerij Huyghe can get it right. I love Delirium Tremens, and anybody that can come up with that obviously knows everything about brewing beer. How can they possibly get their Christmas beer wrong? It’s meant to be a gift to all their loyal beer loving customers. Not that it’s awfu — I doubt they could make an awful beer even if they tried — but this Christmas Ale falls so far below expectations that you may just want to re-gift it to the crazy uncle.
It looks, and smells, like it might even surpass expectations. And the 10% alcohol could make for a very merry Christmas season. It’s a deep reddish amber, but not as dark as many big Belgian dark ales. The head fades quickly to lacing, but that’s not unusual in most Christmas beers. While not being clear, it would be hard to call it cloudy. Maybe a thin, sedimentless fog. The aroma is both complex and entirely unusual for a Christmas ale. You expect to find a load of spices, tons of alcohol and plenty of malt. Those are there, but they are way back behind an almost saison-style earthiness. Then a load of strange fruits for a Christmas beer, the most prominent being banana, of all things. None of this is the least unpleasant. Unusual for the style, maybe, but very promising.
But that’s the point where the Noel loses me.
You can go read the rest of the review here.
Here’s one site’s recommendations on the 10 best holiday beers.