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4 Champagne Beers to Toast With on New Year's Eve

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Looking for a different kind of bubbly for your next big celebration?

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certain maligned domestic lager slings the catchphrase "The Champagne of Beers," but there’s a loftier beer style gracing white tablecloths, Bière de Champagne also known as Bière Brut. Usually a Belgian or Belgian-style strong ale, Bière de Champagne undergoes what's known as méthode champenoise, or the same kind of bottle conditioning, maturation, remuage (riddling) and dégorgement (disgorging) that actual Champagne goes through. Some of these beers are even shipped to the Champagne region of France for this special treatment.

Ranging in color from straw to dark chocolate, these beers are delicate, yet still rich and complex, spicy and aromatic, amazingly effervescent, highly carbonated, and really really good. Most of them are also pretty high in alcohol, but because they are balanced and carbonation is so high, one might not be able to decipher alcohol level by the mouthfeel or viscosity.

Perfect to top off any big celebration or special occasion, these beers usually come in 750ml Champagne bottles, complete with cork and cage, and should be sipped from Champagne flutes. They are a little pricier than other beers, usually running between $30 and $60, but are less expensive than most great Champagne.  Below, four great Champagne beers to try.

Bières des Champagnes to Drink Now:

DeuS Brut Des Flandres
Brouwerij Bosteels, Belgium

Light straw-colored with huge carbonation, this beer almost floats in the mouth. Spicy and peppery, DeuS drifts in the middle to fruity apricots, pears, honey and ginger. With recognizable earthy and funky Belgian yeast qualities, expect an 11.5 percent ABV stunner that finishes dry with some lingering lemon rind in the exhaust.

Photo by Brouwerij Bosteels

Malheur Biere Brut
Brouwerij De Landtsheer, Belgium

According to the late great Michael Jackson (no, not that one), who, during his lifetime, was the leading beer expert in the world, Malheur Brut Reserve "has a remarkably flowery aroma, with suggestions of vanilla."  This 11 percent ABV ale is also spicy, with a beautiful restrained bouquet of peach, rose, apricot and lemon rind plus a very dry finish.

Photo by Brouwerij De Landtsheer

Malheur Brut Noir
Brouwerij De Landtsheer, Belgium

Malheur is a deep auburn-colored, 12 percent ABV Bière de Champagne that is much less dry than the previous two beers. Aged with touches of clove and cinnamon and notes of dark old-world fruit (cherry, plum and fig jam), this very special beer has a nice vinous quality, with wafts of vanilla and tobacco. There’s some heat in the finish, but the sharp carbonation brings Malheur up to a medium body.

Photo by Brouwerij De Landtsheer

Nelson Sauvignon Brut
Mikkeller, Denmark

Nelson Sauvignon plays on the name of its integral hop, New Zealand’s Nelson Sauvin, which has strong fruity flavors and aromas that resemble white wine. Fermented with Champagne yeast in addition to wild yeast and aged in Austrian white wine casks, this 9 percent ABV beer is tart, super dry, and vinous, with notes of gooseberries, tangerines and grapefruit.

Photo by Mikkeller


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