Don’t let the the title of this post fool you…this is not a post about Miller High Life. Rather, it is about beers with champagne- like qualities that will make ringing in the New Year extra special. With the eve of 2009 just around the corner, deciding what to toast the new year with is just about as important as deciding where you will be celebrating the occasion. For beer enthusiasts, there is only one choice…BEER; from there the possibilities are seemingly endless!
Want a perfect substitute for the traditional toast drink of New Years? There are many Belgian style beers which are double and triple fermented. This adds an effervescent quality to beer which can be described as “champagne-like” or bubbly. Here is a list of such brews in no particular order:
Krait Prestige, a “Champagne” lager. Although this beer has no champagne added, it is called so because of the fermentation process it undergoes. It is double fermented to add that sparkling taste that just tickles your tongue. The palate of this beer can be described as lightly fruity and very drinkable at 8% abv.
Unibroue from Quebec, Canada. All of Unibroue’s offerings are quite carbonic and depending on your preference on dryness you will definitely find a style that suits you. The “dryness” aspect comes from the the stlye of beer brewed along with the hops or other flavor added to the brew. Unibroue’s La Fin Du Monde, a triple fremented golden ale, is the dryest and probably the hoppiest beer they have to offer. If you enjoy sweeter tastes try the Trois Pistoles, a stronge dark ale, or the Ephemere, a while ale brewed with apples. Also, Unibroue makes a special beer every year for Trader Joe’s which you should still be able to find in stores.
If your looking for something a little more high-brow then a Biere de Champagne will be to your liking. These brews are usually double fermented, cellered and finally undergo a process that removes the yeast from the bottle. The result is a brew that is high in alochol, highly carbonated and sometimes lightly spiced. A few examples of such brews are DeuS (Brut Des Flandres), Scaldis Prestige, and Eisenbahn Lust.
Finally, saisons also make for a perfect toasting beer. These though these are historically low alcohol beers (usually about 3.5% ABV) to be enjoyed in the late summer harvest months by farm workers in the French-speaking part of Belgian, modern day saisons encompass a vast array of styles. The most famous in the world is perhaps Saison Dupont. At 6.5% ABV, this brew has a welcomed bitterness to it that is rounded out with fruity hints. For domestic saison style beers Jolly Pumpkin’s Bam Bieres and Ommegang’s Hennipin are particularly enjoyable. They are crisp, light in body and will rejuvenate your spirits with the idea that spring will be coming in a few months.
Don’t drop the ball when the ball drops. Plan ahead for your New Year’s toast and ring in 2009 the right way.