Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Belgian/Trappist beers - help me out here

I just never have acquired a taste for Belgian and Trappist beers (is there a difference; I'm pretty ignorant about them). It's a real hole in my beer snobbery. Perhaps some of you guys out there could make a recommendation on where I should start.

Grapevine Market currently has this on sale; perhaps I should go try it:


Rochefort 8 & 10 Trappist Ales

Rochefort ales are finally available here in Central Texas! These two beers are still brewed by monks at the Abbey of St. Remy in Belgium. They are one of the six remaining Trappist breweries in the world. Amongst Trappist ales, they are also some of the most sought after beers in the world.

Rochefort 8 $4.99/11.02 oz bottle

is a deep brown color. It's aroma has notes of fruit and spice. At just over 9% alcohol this beer qualifies as a Belgian strong ale. Don't be scared away, because it's rich, smooth flavor makes it easy to enjoy this beer.

Rochefort 10 $5.79/11.02 oz bottle

is also a dark brown Belgian ale. At just over 11% alcohol, the strength of this beer is balanced by a smooth complex flavor. The aroma has hints of port wine, apricots and oak. This beer is widely regarded as one of the top 5 beers in the world, and it deserves that recognition.


Lance Felber said...

Sadly, I can't help you with your decision to purchase Rochefort ales or not since I've never had them. That said, however, I can recommend a few other Belgian ales. The obvious Duvel and Chimay aside, Corsendonk is one of my favorite Belgium browns and Kwak is also a great Belgian ale. It's lighter than Corsendonk, but has a great taste.

Not exactly from Belgium, but recently I had the Allagash, Belgian style ale (it's brewed in Portland, OR) and it's a pretty solid Dubbel.

I'd be happy to bring over some Belgium ales in an exchange for a sampling of your Sam Smiths Winter Welcome (it's one of my favorites) and I'll throw in the story of the waiter challenge in a bar in a small town in Belgium (yes, it's all about Belgian beer quality).

Bob Knoxious said...

Dammit Lee! You can't call yourself a beer snob and know so little about Belgian Beer. There are almost 100 breweries in Belgium and it's about the size of Maryland.

Saying you don't like Belgian Beers is like saying you don't like beer! There's too many styles there to put a blanket statement like, "I don't like Belgian Beers".

Your question about Trappist Ales is answered in your post. Trappist ales are brewed in the 6 different monestaries/breweries by Trappist Monks. Chimay is the best example.
That leaves 94 other breweries/styles.

Belgian Beer comprises about 15 different styles of beer including Lambics (fruit beers), Saisson, Belgian browns, Whit beer, and strong ales.

The Strong Ales have my favorite names: Duvel (Devil), Delirium Tremmons (w/ Pink elephant on bottle), and Verboden Vrucht (Forbidden Fruit).

Some people say that Belgian Beers are sour, yeasty, strong, too malty, etc. The problem with many Belgian Beers is that they don't travel well. Many are bottle conditioned and the yeast gets mixed up giving a yeasty flavor. They also don't use hops like the English. So if your a hop head, you probably won't prefer Belgian.

In Belgium, they think it's ruined if you put a brewery's beer in the wrong style glass!

I don't always prefer Belgian styles (I'm a hop head after all), but I can say some of most heavenly beer experience have been drinking a nice Belgian beer.

Read up: http://www.ricksteves.com/plan/destinations/ben/belgiumbeer.htm

Lee said...

Okay then, I'm not saying I don't like Belgian beers — I'm saying I haven't found a Belgian beer that I really like yet. And really what I'm saying is, the taste of the ones I have tried didn't really agree with me, but perhaps I can acquire the taste. I didn't like bourbon the first few times I tried it either, but now I love it.

canfield said...

Hi Lee! Hi Lance! Hi Internet!

Allagash is from Pennsylvania somewheres, not from Beervana here. It's good beer for the money, though.

Another good bargain is New Belgium's Trippel. Not bad, and it comes in a handy six pack instead of a darn champagne bottle.

See if Grapevine has some Tripel Karmelit (spelling?). It's a classic.

Lindsey said...

Actually, Allagash is brewed in Portland, MAINE.


Kwak is good introductory Belgian beer. Some good Belgian-like beers that are fairly widely available across the country come from Brewery Ommegang (3 Philosophers, Hennepin, etc.) in upstate NY and Unibroue in Montreal (Fin du monde, Blanche de Chambly, etc.)


canfield said...

Thanks, Lindsey, I was confusing Allagash with Ommegang. And confusing New York with Pennsylvania.

Is beer that foamy drink made out of fermented grain?

Anonymous said...

Portland, Maine... Portland, Oregon, one of those places that's really green with lot's of trees. That's also what happens when I submit a comment after having a few beers...

Karla said...

mmm...belgian beeer....


My favorite is Hooegaarden. A whitebeer, wheat beer, heffeweizen style, whatever it's called. ...yum.

It's only good on draft, forget it if it's bottled.