I’ve spent the day cooking, baking, cleaning, wrapping and cursing. I stole a few moments under a bright blue sky for lunch, surrounded by bird song and accompanied by some Japanese Pale Ale from Niigata, but that lunch break was it for the day’s serenity…until now. The canned Niigata would’ve made a great addition to this series; a bonkers little brew all lemon citrus, honey sweetness, cream cracker malts and a herbal-esque snap to the finish; instead I’ve opted to travel to Belgium for this one.
I’m revisiting a beer I included in last year’s 12 Beers series, N’ice by Chouffe. I ended up with a second bottle last festive season and so I hung on to it, I figured the ageing process, the flavour evolution and, let’s face it, those endearing gnomes would make for another strong addition to the line up.
Last time around I had this to say:
It pours with an impatient fizz, filling the glass with a dark brick-brown-amber, giving off enticing herbal nuanced aromas. Sweet plums and dates fizz and flood the palate, with bread and soft caramel washing in. There’s a real depth to the malts, the carbonation keeping them from becoming ‘chewy’. The classic Belgian flavours are all at the party, with a beautiful herbal hit in the finish from the added thyme and a dry pithy orange joins it for a final dance.
It still pours with that excited fizz, and the red-glowing mahogany liquid still gives off herbal nuances in the aroma but this time around there’s more to the scent; boozy raisin and fig with the merest dash of rhubarb and a Port like quality. The palate is still a party of classic Belgian characteristics; bready yeast and that herbal quality but these are lesser than before, being pushed aside by a huge boozy Christmas pudding hit. Bliss.