It’s summer and I would love to talk about Riesling and rosé again, but its time to switch it up a bit. BEER, yes beer with be the topic today. We are a couple weeks out from opening our new concept, The Hill Bar and Grill. The place will be flooded with craft beers from all over the world. I, normally just an occasional beer drinker, have had the pleasure of tasting many different beers lately. I have become a big fan of the Belgian styles. Specifically saisons, tripels, and quads. As with a lot of old world wine, the history and tradition of some old school producers is intriguing. From what I have tasted, it doesn’t get much better than the Trappist beers. The Trappist is an order of monasteries that goes way back before 1600’s. Each monastery had to support itself and the monks brewed and sold beer to keep the monastery alive. Some of these Trappist breweries have came and gone but today there are 8 official Trappist breweries. To be official you have to be a part of the International Trappist Association. They have several guidelines but the main two are that you have to brew the beer at the monastery and you have to be non profit. Other breweries have tried to use the Trappist name but the monks have gone as far as suing to protect the name and tradition of these historical beers.
There are several styles of beer brewed by the Trappist monks but there are basically two main styles. The dubbel is more of a brown/amber ale style beer with some spiciness to it. It can take on notes of dried fruit and cocoa. Malty would be another descriptor but it is not sweet like some malty beers. It is a great beer to have with barbecue and even chocolate. The tripel style is my favorite of the two. The best tripels have well balanced layers of fruits, spices, and hops. Some have a creamy mouthfeel but the finish is always crisp and clean. A tripel with shellfish makes an excellent pairing. My favorite Trappist tripels are Westmalle Tripel, Rochefort 10, and Chimay Tripel. Many breweries worldwide have taken to these abbey style beers. Some of them can be very good and rival the Trappist. La Fin Du Monde out of Canada is an excellent tripel. St. Bernardus, once a Trappist beer, also makes a worthy tripel. This is definitely a must try category for anybody that likes beer. The history and traditions of these old world beers make it more than just a beer. At The Hill Bar and Grill we plan on carrying the Trappists Westmalle, Rochefort, Chimay, and Orval. Speciality glassware is a must for these and we will follow suit. I hope I have encouraged you to get out and try some of these beers. Some are pricey and hard to find but you won’t regret it.