There are a couple of beer moments that stand out to me, and one of those was standing in a long line at the WGBH Craft Beer Festival because Craft Beer Cellar was serving all eight of the Trappist breweries (yes, even Westvleteren). In the vernacular of Hank Hill, I’ll tell you whut…I would don a robe, give up my vices, and become a monk if I got to drink this solid Trappist every day.
All of the authentic Trappist beers are brewed in Europe by six monasteries in Belgium, one in Austria, and one in Holland. As for America?
Recently the monks at St. Joseph’s Abbey, here in Spencer Massachusetts, announced that they are opening a brewery to make Spencer Trappist Ale. Wait, what? Massachusetts? Shut the front door. The monks decided to start brewing when they needed more money to help maintain the abbey, especially with the dwindling number of monks at their Monastery. Father Isaac Keeley went to Europe to meet with the other Trappist breweries at their Cistercian monasteries, and after many years of hard work and development, the brewery opened their doors in 2014. Currently the beer is only available in bottles in Massachusetts, but should be out on tap this month.
The beer, coming in at 6.5% ABV is easy to enjoy. It’s a hazy, deep gold beer, with a billowy, cloud like head, and lots of carbonation.
The nose is ripe with caramelized malts, spice like coriander and clove, and notes of banana. While not as spicy as some other Trappists, it has a nice level of spice, notes of candi sugar, Belgian yeast, and malts. It’s finishes dry, and a little bitter. It’s a beer I look forward to drinking again. This beer is American made, with American ingredients, but it ranks right up there with its European brethren.