The days are getting shorter, but the holiday comforts keep rolling in. City Beer currently has two seasonals from The Bruery on tap, with names borrowed from “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” Yesterday I tried their 4 Calling Birds on tap, which is a Belgian strong dark ale coming in at a whopping 11%–sure to make those cold nights a little more bearable.

This beer fortunately doesn’t smell as alcoholic as it is, or taste like it either. The thick, malty character is matched with sweetness from Belgian candy sugar. The color is almost opaque with its dark cola brown, and the carbonation is light, but tickles the palate nicely. Cloves and nutmeg are prominent spices in the flavor that make the beer taste sort of like gingerbread, along with other sweet notes reminiscent of plums and figs. There are tiny hints of coffee and chocolate that round off the beer giving it a velvety feel appropriate for its body. This would be great paired with spiced cake, prunes and figs, or caramel popcorn.

This beer is very well balanced and I loved just about everything it had to offer. Next to The Bruery’s Autumn Maple, I’m not sure which one I would choose over which, but I have lots of faith in any other specials brews they have in store for this season.

Photo credit: