29 March 2011
“An overwhelming number of beer nerds would never have had
all these seven in their life in a single day…lets go !” Phil
Our first curated tasting was researched by “the Jesuit” a scholar of ancient Greece and Rome, a wearer of fine suits, colourful ties and striped socks. He is also a longstanding Arizona Cardinals fan.
The Jesuit went all out. He chose to feature the beers of Trappist monasteries in Belgium and prepared little beer notes, a map of the breweries, and provided a web link to a cycle tour. The only things missing for we who had gathered were rosary beads, prayer books and complimentary sandals.
That said, he set himself a tough task to bring the Trappist dance card together albeit with the assistance of Phil who worked hard to locate and acquire some of the hard to get beers. They set a high standard for the rest of us to follow in the coming months. Here is the sacred seven…
La Trappe Bockbier (Netherlands 7%) 6.5MP
“Like liquid bread, musty…”
According to Phil, the monastery responsible for making this beer was kicked out of the fold for getting too commercial for a while. At the time of writing this was the only trappist lager – a doppleboch. We recorded that it was like liquid bread… and musty…which I guess is good if you are hungry.
Achel 8 Blond (north eastern Belgium, 8%) 6 MP
This is apparently the beer that everyone kind of forgets because the brewery was shut down for a while (during the war). It got back up and running in 1998. The liquid’s appearance was nicely hazy, probably due to the bottle conditioning. It tasted zippy, tangy and really fizzy in character…but not in a bad way.
“Too bad the label looks like clipart…” bruce
Orval (Southern Belgium, 6.2%) 5.2 MP
The makers are a relatively high producer of this one commercial product and the beer is basically a blond. We found it conspicuously hoppy, perhaps a sign of its freshness. According to Phil the taste can differ radically from bottle to bottle, it can be all over the place. Greasylightbulb, a psychology grad observed that it was “…a beer with many personalities…”
Westmalle Tripel (Northern Belgium 9.5%) 8 MP
“…like it has gunpowder in it!” gingerbeardyman
Tripel is a term originated by the Westmalle brewery and has come to represent a stronger pale beer. It was certainly a high strength beer with a massive flavour but remarkably very light. Promoted with an eyebending label…I like that.
“expands nicely” bruce
“You’d be able to stand up and then not be able to stand up” Jesuit
Westvleteren 12 (Western Belgium 10.2%) off the scale MP
“Very few colossal beer nerds have had this” Phil
“Some people say it’s the best beer in the world” Jesuit
This beer is classified by some sources as a barley wine, one that is aromatic and tasting of dark rum. It was the highlight of the night, a $60 a bottle highlight (we shared). The taste lingered on and on and we are still talking about it months later. This beer is way too cool for a bottle label. The monks want you to see its dark colour and feel the thirst, but they produced a printed bottle cap to make their claim to fame. And good on them too. It was described by one Thirstyboy as “a big, malty, beer and massively strong” bruce
The Jesuit was blown away by this one proclaiming “It’s Plato’s beer!” and “a zyphophiles epiphany”
“I feel like I am drinking something the stasi let slip through the border”
Rochefort 10 (South east Belgium 11.3) 8 MP
This beer was first introduced as in 1953 as La Merveilleuse (The Magnificent). The Thirstyboys thought it tasted like strawberry, it was “jammy” and “all port and wine” or “Like fruit on the turn after a holiday”.
Chimay Bleue/Grande reserve (Southern Belgium 9%) 6.5MP
Fresh, spicyness apparently with instructions on the glass on how to drink it. My note taking failed me here and thirst took over and over and over.
Overall it was a big night, a night with high expectations, hyped up and ultimately worth a few extra bucks. It was a great card of beers that created space for a little bit of history to be shared and made. Good work Jesuit…
as sanele would say “feel proud?”
Many thanks to Phil for making it happen. For his extended and expert commentary on this tasting please visit his blogpost: http://philcook.net/beerdiary/2011/03/29/the-trappist-dance-card/