Matthew Curtis's No More Heroes VIII – Delirium Christmas

Before we start this review, I’d like you to humour me a little. Please point your browser at your preferred music streaming service and start playing Sir Paul McCartney’s Simply Having a Wonderful Christmas Time. Let those bells ring out and that seasonally atonal synth part wash over you, while I tell you all about a little beer called Delirium Christmas.

The mood is right

I love Christmas - it’s one of the best times of the year to be a beer drinker. I don’t, however, enjoy the majority of seasonally inspired beers that flood the market over the holidays. I struggle with Christmas beer, be it a rebranded best bitter or an over-herbed and spiced atrocity against the alcoholic beverage industry. However, some breweries get it just right, and most of them are Belgian.

The spirit’s up

Brouwerij Huyghe’s Delirium Tremens is in itself one of the most underrated beers in the world. Its relatively low cost and the ease at which it is acquired often gets it associated, incorrectly so, with some of the super-strength beers at the lower end of the market.

We’re here tonight

This couldn’t be further from the truth. Delirium has a delicately sweet richness that’s complemented with a spicy, bone-dry finish. It’s near perfect on it’s own but when paired with a hard, nutty cheese such as Lincolnshire Poacher, it really comes into its own.

And that’s enough

Delirium Christmas seems to amplify almost every quality of its year-round brethren. It pours a beautiful, seasonally appropriate shade of chestnut and these darker malts add flavours of stewed figs and plums to the beer. It’s not quite as dry as the regular Delirium but it has that same, slightly spicy, muted bitter note that’s unmistakable in Huyghe’s range of beers.

Simply having a wonderful Christmas time

Delirium Christmas is the kind of indulgent, satisfying beer that’s perfect for this time of year. It’ll go as well with your cheese board as it will with your Christmas pud. It’s an ideal beer to turn to towards the back end of Christmas day, right before the port comes out. And it’s got a pink elephant, alternately ice skating or on a sled [wearing a Santa hat - Ed], on the label, so everyone’s a winner. There’s no doubt that even Macca himself would approve.

You can find more from beer writer Matthew Curtis at his excellent beer blog, Total Ales, and Good Beer Hunting, and on Twitter @totalcurtis.