While walking Sami the MinPin around the Bastide Saint Louis in Carcassonne during the holiday season, Sami insisted several times that I stop and enjoy a Affligem de Noël Christmas beer. I was very appreciative of her encouragement.
Affligem is not actually a French brand, it’s Belgian from the Op-Ale Brewery in the Flemish village of Opwijk and made under license for the 11th century Benedictine Abbey (monastery) in Affligem. But Affligem de Noël was the most commonly seen seasonal Christmas beer in Carcassonne with signs advertising its availability in many café and bar windows. http://www.affligembeer.be/
While I was expecting a noticeably spiced Christmas beer (like the Red Nose Holiday Wassail Beer, a favorite of mine at Great Basin Brewery in Reno, Nevada), the Affligem de Noël had a very subtle taste of spices, fruits, and honey. This draft beer has a translucent, auburn color and a great aroma. The Affligem de Noël was refreshing and surprisingly would also make a good summer beer. Like most Christmas beers, this one had a slightly higher percentage of alcohol at 6.2% ABV.
If I understand the tradition correctly, there is a different Affligem de Noël beer brewed for the Christmas season every year. So after my positive experience with the 2013 beer, I am now looking forward to Affligem de Noël 2014.