It is after Christmas, the presents are put away, the tree is undecorated lying outside, yet I still have a couple beers to drink. That seems like a good situation to me.
Calling my name is the Fantome de Noel that I picked up at Wine Underground. It looks like a fun bottle to drink, so I thought I would give it a whirl.
The beer pours a dark reddish-brown, with a beautiful fluffy off-white, almost tan head. The beer looks perfect to drink. The aroma jumps up and hits you with cherry and alcohol. I always assume that there will be a large spice presence in Belgian Christmas beers, but this one is much more subtle.
The spices stay subtle (there but subtle), with a sweet cherry flavor coming out- it could be candy sugar and cherry, or just the cherry, I'm not sure. As the beer warms, the nice blend of spices start to show up, with no single spice dominating others. The alcohol is present, which is expected at 10%.
The smoothness of the beer and the mild carbonation makes this beer very easy to drink. This is definitely a beer that I wouldn't mind picking up in the future, even though the pricetag is a little higher than I normally pay (it was $13-14).
A very nice Christmas beer that could be enjoyed by the fire. As a dark saison, the funkyness does not overpower everything else about the beer.
Overall Rating: I'd give it an A-/B+.