by Nathan Hak Beerjournalist at Beerwulf
Champagne-like beersLet's pop some beers instead of champagne!
End of year celebrations are synonymous with elaborate meals and ever-flowing drinks. But does this period well and truly belong to fizzy wine and champagne, or are there alternative options out there? It’s time to review this state of affairs and say goodbye champagne, hello beer!
- Dupont Bons Voeux “Avec Les Bon Voeux!” is French for “With the best wishes”, my French colleague once told me. Dupont Bons Voeux is an "Imperial Saison", it’s a somewhat heavier saison. The yeast brings a special character to the beer: fruity and a little spicy as well. In addition to the festive name, it has a nice bubble, and together with the champagne cork, this is a perfect beer for New Year’s Eve.
- St. Feuillien Grand Cru "Grand Cru" in the wine world is a phrase used for wines that are the result of good vineyard growth. In the beer world, Grand Cru refers to the beer that the brewer thinks is best. In the case of St. Feuillien it is a strong blond Belgian beer, vibrant in character, slightly fruity and dry. This champagne alternative is very festive, and it’s just as delicious as the beautiful heavy blond beers that Belgium is so famous for.
- Baladin Nazionale Champagne bottles are always eye-catching, right? Well, check out this bottle from the Italian brewer Baladin! It’s the perfect eye candy to put out at a party. The beer is tasty as well - it’s fruity and sparkling.
- Boon Geuze Mariage Parfait Geuze is a blend of different lambics (spontaneously fermented beer). Oude Geuze is fed from young lambic to three-year-old lambic with an average age of at least 1 year +1 day. At the Boon brewery they go even further with Mariage Parfait, because this Geuze is made from only 3-year-old lambics, whereby the art is to perfectly match the different characteristics of different lambics. The result is a complex, dry beer, clearly sour in character with fruity notes. It brims just like champagne and sits in a similar bottle, to withstand the high pressure generated by the secondary fermentation.
- Tripel Karmeliet The Karmeliet Tripel is a classic loved by many, sure, but what does it have to do with Champagne? Firstly, there’s the perfect balance between fruitiness, spiciness and sweetness, but in particular it’s the beautiful bubbly character, which also makes it taste so fresh.
- Bacchus Framboos Rosé Champagne isn’t the purest form of Champagne, but it sure does look festive! For something sweet yet sour, festive red-pink and bursting with fruit, try Bacchus Raspberry. It’s a sweetened Flemish old brown with raspberries. The paper packaging around the bottle makes it feel extra festive.
- Schneider Weisse Mein Kristall (TAP 2) A Hefe Weizen is unfiltered, which ensures a soft and creamy mouthfeel. But, of course, we want something fruity and sparkling, and that's a filtered weizen! By filtering, the beer will get just a little more fresher and sparkling. The wheat provides a sour touch, perfect for New Year’s Eve!
- Brlo Berliner Weisse We finish this selection of champagne-like beers with the "Champagne of the North", as the troops of Napoleon called Berliner Weisse. Not surprising, because like champagne, this beer is bubbly, fruity and fairly dry, but also the sourness comes back in this beer. It is just as bitter as champagne.
Need convincing? Let’s try and bust some of the main myths:
Myth #1: “Beer isn’t a drink for the holidays...”
Why not? It’s full of surprises, packed with flavour and goes great with any dinner table. What’s more, with fizzy beer you still get the excitement required for end-of-year celebrations. Some beer bottles even go “pop” like a bottle of fizzy wine if it’s the theatrical aspect you’re after.
Myth #2: “Beer doesn’t pair well with food...”
Not true at all! Beer comes in a huge spectrum of flavours. You can choose beers to complement the level of subtlety or spice of a dish, and the possible flavour combinations are endless. The right beer will perfectly accompany any holiday menu.
Myth #3: “Beer isn’t classy or elegant…”
Beer is an integral part of the gastronomic world. More and more, it is represented in highly regarded restaurants: there are even restaurants specialising in beer that are quoted in the Michelin guide! And if it’s aesthetics you’re worried about, that’s no issue either. Beer, just like champagne, can be tasted in a flute (this is common for Lambics, Lagers or Pilsners for example). But there are also many other elegant glasses available, depending on the style of beer you’re drinking.
So, forget the prosecco this year and try the festive beers we have selected for you! These are all sparkling and tasty, to be enjoyed with family or friends during the festive celebrations.