Nothing says Christmas like a strong Belgian ale that's full of spice and warmth; especially one that features little gnomes in Santa hats on the label.
The Achouffe gnomes, named after the Wallonian region in Belgium where the brewery is based, are said to gather in their cottage whilst the animals in fairyland hibernate. They tell their best stories of life in the Ardennes, whilst drinking n'ice chouffe long into the night.
So goes the tale. These little fellows are the main figurehead of the Brasserie d'Achouffe, which brews n'ice chouffe along with other Belgian beers. The gnome or gnomes are always crouched in the same way, but often wear different outfits and are doing different things, from lighting fires to picnicking or even picking hops.
N'ice Chouffe: Taste Test
It's malty and rich on the scent and pours a very dark brown that verges on being as black as stout. The strength of the beer comes out in the scent, but combines with the malt and a slight sweetness.
The flavour is a little too metallic initially, which is made worse when it's chilled. The strength comes through early and gives it a powerful punch and makes it very warming, perfect for a winter ale.
The beer gets better as it warms up, getting sweeter and allowing the malt to come through more to give the beer an extra dimension.
N'ice Chouffe: Bottle Notes
It's a squat bottle, which is incredibly pleasing aesthetically although i'm not sure if there's a scientific reason for the stubby bottles.
The label features the gnomes of Achouffe building a fire in the middles of a snowy forrest, presumably the Ardennes. Whilst they're stoking the fire, they have glasses of presumably n'ice chouffe to keep them warm. It's a very cheery label and the gnomes do bring a smile to your face and make you feel festive.
The name across the front features 'Chouffe' in bold letters with the 'n'ice' in a mroe informal scrawl on the top. All of Achouffe's bottles follow this format, with 'Chouffe' being repeated across all of them and the variable style (IPA, cherry, soleil) adorning the label in a different way.
Buy N'ice Chouffe Winter Ale
You can pick up this stout bottle of seasonal sauce from The Belgian Beer Company for just £5.26 a bottle, although you will likely need to pay a bit for shipping so it's worth stocking up on some of their other wares too.
A fan of beer since his first can of John Smiths he snook out of his Dad's fridge, Adam is now a craft beer enthusiast. To offset this 'hobby', he also cycles, runs and plays cricket when not spending time with his family.