Every month, Belgibeer features a different craft brewery, sending freshly brewed beers together with glassware, beers mats, stickers, posters and anything available on site.
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The box arrived very well packed, with each individual bottle bubble-wrapped and in cardboard sleeves to avoid breakage.
November’s Belgibeer box features brews from Brasserie des Carrières in the Basecles region. In a nod to the area’s history of marble extraction, the brewery’s four beers are known as Diôle. The name refers to a large cast iron stone used to polish marble and also means devil in the local language, which is alluded to on the beer’s slightly sinister label.
The brewery is housed in an old sawmill and the owners pride themselves on brewing using natural local products. The barley is grown just 1 km from the brewery and some of the hops are grown on the brewery grounds. In addition to the four beers included in the Belgibeer box, the brewery also produces the Basèque, a special beer brewed just once a year on the first Sunday of September with freshly collected hops.
The November box is filled with Christmas-themed treats: 2 bottles each of Diôle Blonde, Diôle Ambrée, Diôle Brune, Diôle de Noël, a Beligbeer glass, a flat-pack Belgibeer gift box, 2 beer mats, a Belgian flag, a magnet/bottle opener and a copy of the Beligibeer magazine Golden Hops.
The beer glass was packed in an attractive sturdy box. This is the third month I’ve received my glass in one of these boxes, and this remains a very welcome change from previous months when glasses were simply packed in bubble wrap.
This is the same glass that I received last month, which I don’t mind, because now I have a matching pair!
The flat pack box is incredibly easy to build. If you are kind enough to gift half of your box contents this holiday season, then this is the perfect way to do it.
Two beer mats.
Who doesn’t love a miniature flag?
The ever-so-practical Belgibeer magnet and bottle opener. I have a few of these already and just realised the design is rather festive!
This month’s Golden Hops includes details about the Brasserie des Carrières, tasting notes, a feature on GAI France brewing equipment, and some information for visiting historical sites the Castle of Beloeil and the Archeosite of Aubechies.
Okay, time to taste some beer. My husband generously offered to do the tasting for me this month, so I have taken on the role of scribe.
Diôle Blonde (6.5% abv) is the first ever beer produced by Brasserie des Carrières and winner of best beer in Wallonia in 2014. This is an amber pale ale with a fine white foamy head. It has a fresh grassy, yeasty aroma with a fruit bouquet of lemon, pear and quince. This is a drinkable, fruity beer with a well-balanced flavour.
Diôle Ambrée (7.5% abv) is the result of a carmelised brew, in other words a happy mistake of brewing gone wrong! This is a really lovely deep, hazy copper colour with a thick beige foam. The aroma has notes of fruit and caramel, and the taste is lightly acidic with a malty and fruity sweetness.
Diôle Brune (8.5% abv) won the silver medal at the Brussels Beer Challenge. This brown beer is dark in colour with a ruby reflection and thick creamy foam. The aroma is fruity with caramel and roasted notes. This beer has a smooth mouthfeel with flavours of caramel and a touch of acidic fruitiness.
Diôle de Noël (9% abv) is a dark beer made with four different hops, made with a different recipe each year. This is a dark brown with red tones and a creamy foam. It has a strong aroma of roasted caramel with a floral quality. The tasting notes say this is a thirst-quenching beer with fruit and spicy notes, and pronounced flavours of caramel, brown sugar and candy. My husband wasn’t so loquacious in his description, just saying it was his least favourite of the four.
This month’s Belgibeer box is full of fun Christmas touches to get you in the holiday spirit. The Diôle Brune was the favourite in my house, but all the beers from Brasserie des Carrières won praise.