Did you know that in Belgium, people leave mugs of rich holiday ale for Santa Claus on Christmas Eve? Actually, we made that up. But it surely sounds plausible.
Enjoying "Kerstbier" seems to be an annual national pastime, culminating in a world-renowned festival that boasts upwards of 150 warming, complex brews.
What's that you say? Belgium is pretty far away? "Bah, humbug?" Fortunately, The Trappist is bringing the celebration to the East Bay. Boasting over 40 European Christmas beers, the Trappist's Kerstbier Fest claims to be the biggest assortment of its kind outside of Belgium. Moreover, the majority of the Belgian delights will be offered on draft -- a difficult and costly endeavor.
You can't throw a stone at the beer list without hitting the word "noel." Many of the beer names are impossibly difficult to pronounce, so you know they must be good. They're even serving multiple vintages of our Holiday Spiced Beer Blind Tasting Panel winner. Most of the beers are high in alcohol, so be thankful that the 12th St. BART is easier to navigate than the Belgian countryside.
And that's the story of how The Trappist saved Christmas.
The Trappist Kerstbier Festival
When: December 16th and 17th, 5pm to close
Where: The Trappist, 460 8th St. (at Broadway), Oakland, (510) 238-8900
Cost: $25 for 4 six ounce samples and commemorative glassware, additional samples available for purchase
What: A formidable list of Christmas beers sure to induce visions of sugar plums and Belgian sugar waffles.