Saturday, April 7, 2012

La Trappe Quadrupel

The label reads, "[s]ince 1884, the monks of Koningshovoen have brewed La Trappe Ales to support themselves."  That immediately caught my attention.  I have always been fascinated by Trappist beers, and, I have even reviewed one such beer, Orval.   The fascination comes from the fact that monks have been brewing beer (or making wine) for centuries.  The beers often had a purpose ... they would consume the beers during fasting periods.

Another thing that fascinates me about Trappist beers is that there are few beers that are still brewed by, or under the direction of monks.  There are a lot of "abbey ales," but few to none of those ales are Trappist ales.  They are simply the efforts of those outside of the brotherhood to recreate Trappist beers.

Most Trappist beers are made in Belgium; however, there is one beer that is made by monks in the Netherlands ... La Trappe.  I recently purchased a bottle of La Trappe's Quadrupel. The monks produce this beer with pale, caramel, Munich and roast malts, along wtih Hallertau, Northern Brew, Slovenien and Super Steiner hops.  The monks also used a strain of yeast unique to Koningshovoen.  Each beer is bottle conditioned for a full, complex flavor and long shelf life.  It can be aged like a fine wine. 

The Quadrupel pours a rust, copper color. The beer is highly carbonated, as the pictures show.  The foam stuck around for quite a while.  The aromatic elements of the beer provide a traditional Belgian experience: yeast, bananas and cloves.  Some of those flavors carry through to the taste.  Most notably, the bananas and cloves can be detected with each taste.  These flavors are joined by flavors of caramel and a warming sense of alcohol.  (The beer has an ABV of 10%, along with 25 IBUs.) 

This beer is a sipping beer, meant to be enjoyed by itself.  For that reason, I really do not have any suggestions for food pairings.  Just pour a glass of the beer, sit out on a porch or a deck, take a deep breath, and enjoy.

This beer is available at stores with a large selection of imports.  A bottle will set you back about $16.99.  But it is worth it.  


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