Gouden Carolus Christmas
A Beer for Bertie Basset


Even if you don’t know who Bertie Bassett is, it’s unlikely that as a child you never ate Liquorice Allsorts, the traditional British sweet, first produced by Geo. Bassett and Co. in Sheffield in 1899. Today the sweets are part of food giant, Montelez International (formerly Kraft Foods), nonetheless the mascot, Bertie, has hung on through all the transitions.

I imagine if he could drink beer, Bertie would like something sweet and dark.

Up until now I don’t think any of the Strong Dark Ales I’ve tried would be the right choice; but what about Gouden Carolus Christmas? Many reviewers have noticed liqurice or aniseed in the taste and aroma; it could be just the thing for a sweet liquorice man.

The beer pours a dark amber brown with a medium beige head. The aroma is immediately dark fruit, sweet malt and yeast. A distinct aniseed and vegetable edge comes as the beer warms in the glass. The latter carries through into the taste; liquorice upfront together with fenchel and a touch of celeriac.

Sweetness follows closely behind as the rich fruits (fig, date, plum) unfold and the malt establishes itself. The initial aniseed dominance slowly fades and the taste takes on a milk chocolate feel which lasts into the finsh. Hop bitterness and alcohol (10,5% vol.) stay well in the background.

Definitely a beer for Bertie; if you’re a fan of Liquorice Allsorts open a packet alongside the beer; you can sort out the Bertie figures or if you’re feeling really creative, make your own Bertie; the original figure was held together with pipe cleaners!