No related posts.
We have all been there, a long day of class, a rough day at work, a disappointing end to a new Netflix series addiction. It is usually in these times of strife that you think to yourself, “God, you know what I need right now? A good beer…” Well you’re right you do, and thankfully the man up high (or at least his loyal monks) have heard your plea. So buckle up, because this article will focus on the Abbey Brewed Ales of Europe, and trust me, thou shall not be disappointed.
Before we begin, a little history of these blessed Abbey Brewed Ales. Monks have been recorded brewing beer as early as the 9th century. It was a common practice since beer, or wine, tended to be safer to drink than water, and it also held some nutritional value. However, many of the beers were brewed with two strengths, one for the Nuns and one for the Priest. The primary difference was that the “Priest” strength tended to leave the monks walking sideways. In one case, the beer in one abbey was so strong that the poor, drunk, monks started praying. The men thought they had been possessed by the devil. In recent times (late 1860’s) Abbey/Trappist ales have become mass produced and sold to the general public.
The difference between a Trappist beer and Abbey beer is quite simple. Trappist beers are brewed to maintain their monastery; all profits are then donated to charity. An Abbey ale is brewed by monks for profit in an abbey. So now without delay let’s move onto these beers that won’t leave you heading for confession anytime soon.
Dark, brooding, complex; no, this isn’t a tribute to our angsty middle school years, or the hipster you watched at open mic night at the Merc last week. This is a common description for the “Trappistes Rochefort 10,” a trappist Belgian style-quad. This blessed nectar pours a dark brown, almost black and is extremely aromatic. Known as a “thinking beer” this beer sits in your mouth and almost changes flavors as you drink, forcing you to “think” about what you just had in your mouth. Notes of dark sugar, caramel, and toffee radiate when the beer is poured. When tasted, a syrup candy sweetness with a brandy complexity is prevalent. However, don’t let this description fool you, with an ABV of 11.3% this brew might leave you praying that your morning after isn’t comprised of Advil and a gallon of water. The complex flavors and high ABV can be attributed to a heavy dosing of sugar and malts when brewing. The beer also continues to ferment while bottled, much like a wine. This means that if you’re lucky, or unlucky, you might be opening pandoras box with a slightly higher ABV, so be prepared.
Fun, blond, sneaky, and full of surprises… no I am not talking about your ex or Claire Underwood. I am talking about the “Westmalle Trappist Tripel.” A trappist ale brewed in Abdij der Trappisten van Westmalle. This beer is hailed as the first, and one of the quintessential “tripel” ales. A tripel is a Belgian ale used to describe the ABV. A tripel is a strong ale with an ABV of 9% or more, some stronger ones exist such as the “10” mentioned earlier, they are known as “quads.” When poured this beer has an innocent opaque golden color (due to the use of pilsner malts) and a strong aroma of pear, lemon, and clove (due to the yeast used when brewing). When sipped this beer is light with initial citrus notes from the hops and a spicy finish from the yeast. The monks nailed this one, praise be. An overwhelmingly delightful beer, this brew is perfect for any occasion or libation celebration. It also comes with an added blessing, an ABV to answer those prayers for a beer to ease the strife of everyday life.
Last, but certainly not least is the highly revered “Orval Trappist Ale.” Our friends at Asbury Provisions claim that this is “simply the best beer on earth,” aka God’s gift to the beer-drinking population. A unique beer, “Orval” is known for only brewing one beer, and not classifying what type it is. Yeah we get it, you’re like Stone Brewing and their Bastard Line, you make good beers and you’re cocky.
Thou shall not be vain seems to have slipped by. However this confidence is well deserved. Brewed in the Abbaye Notre-Dame d’Orval this beer is something special. When pouring keep in mind that “patience is a virtue” for the foam overwhelms most of the pour. However, once poured the beer has a nice orange hue to it and smells of grapefruit, hay, lemon, and candy sugar.
The taste doesn’t stray far from the nose, except with the pleasant addition of vanilla and spice. A lighter beer with an ABV of 6.2%, this one will leave your conscience clean after drinking. Yet, its smooth texture and pleasant taste might leave you tempted for more, which could result in a similar morning after to that of the “10.”
Regardless of the reason that makes you crack open one of these blessed ales, give a little thanks for those wonderful, bald men, who, through divine guidance brought you these amazing brews. Till next time, praise be and enjoy responsibly with friends.
No related posts.