I have been looking to the Belgium component of the 1,001 beers you must try before you die and I think it is going to be the hardest, not only because it is so extensive but being able to pronounce any of the names is next to impossible for me.
However you need to start somewhere and the Abby of La Trappe from the Netherlands was where I landed, mostly because I could get a gift pack of the blond, dubbel, tripel and quad all at once with a nifty chalice glass to go with it. For those of you playing at home there are only 7 Trappist beers in the world (Beers made by monks or the production is overseen by monks) 6 of them are made in Belgium and La Trappe is the only one outside of Belgium and comes from the Netherlands.
Do you make high quality beer? Yes
The La Trappe Quadrupel is a 10% beer that you should probably enjoy with friends. It has strong banana ester flavours and a strong alcohol taste that warms you from head to toe. It is slightly porty and I felt that the best part of it was the smell. That’s not to say that it didn’t taste amazing but sometimes you have so much aroma and then when you taste it the beer just doesn’t live up the aroma. That might be because my nose is better than my taste buds. It could just be me and my own little quirks. Still this is a high quality beer to enjoy slightly warm with friends in the colder weather. Don’t drink it straight from the fridge!
La Trappe Blond comes at you with 6.5%, not as strong as the other members of it’s family but potent enough by almost anyones standard. It pours a cloudy orangey yellow colour with a decent amount of head but nothing you would describe as strong or excessive. I didn’t pick up a lot on the aroma side this time. The beer tastes pleasantly fruity and is accompanied with a good dose of candied sugar sweetness which you expect from the traditional Belgium Blond. There is a small amount of hop driven bitterness at the end but it is nothing more then a whiff.
is 8% so it is getting a little bit stronger and it pours out a dense looking deep golden orange colour. When I poured it out there was a big slap in the face of bananas and some clove. The head lasted about as long as a Brittany Spears marriage. There is a distinct spice character which walks hand in hand with coriander when I dip my nose closer the liquid deliciousness. O wow it is easy to pick up the spiciness of this beer when smelling it but when tasting it, the spiciness is overpowering. It makes it next to impossible to pull any other flavours out of this beer, especially in the first mouthful. After your palate has adjusted a little bit you start to pick up a few more of those flavours, especially the sweetness coming from the candied sugar. There is also a little bit of passionfruity taste to it.
is a dark beer that looks a pleasing Sno Top colour and like all the beers so far has a short lived head. It is 7% and has some pleasant dark berry and yeast aromas which are enticing. If I was going to pick my favourite beer smell wise, it would probably be this one. When I taste it i get something a bit like hazelnut, a little nutty and chocolatey. There is a distinct caramel character and a little roasty taste right at the end of the tasting. It is a smooth finishing beer and almost comforting to drink, easy and complex enough to make you think about without troubling your taste buds.
This is a mix between the Dubbel and Tripel which someone told me I should try. It poured out with a very light brown colour, like a hazelnut. The spicy smell from the Tripel came through but it a muted sort of fashion. When I poured this out I thought I may have made a bad life decision but no, not this time. I got a nice dose of spice which was followed by the caramel note and excellent mouthfeel from the Dubbel. This halvie is a great drink, sure it is not for the purists who would imagine that I have created something that desecrates both styles but in my opinion this beer is greater then the sum of it’s parts. Definitely something to try.
Well that’s it for now beer lovers.
PS If you are wondering why there was not a friday night at the Wheaty update, it’s because I did’nt go, i had a prior engagement. Will be there for the 9th birthday on Wednesday though.