First of, I think you should earn brownie points for this because it's excellent! I haven't tried any of these beers yet (I'm a passionate beer drinker), but I will search for them!
I'm going to have to agree and disagree with you there. I think beer should taste like beer, but I see no reason why I shouldn't try it out just for the heck of it. You might find one you really like.
Although I have to add I tried Cherry beer once and I almost cried. It was quite horrible.
I'll try anything once-- but I won't necessarily spend money on just anything, hence the exploration inherent in reading about beer. I read about five times as many beers as I actually drink. Maybe I'll get to them down the line; maybe not. Whatever I manage to imbibe is worthwhile enough.
Which cherry beer was it? One of those Samuel Adams Cherry Wheats? A Cherry Lambic?
I don't have a lot of money, and a lot of these varieties are incredibly pricey. If I went out and spent that sort of money on beer and found that I didn't like it, well... I would be severely disappointed. I can't afford to just shrug it off and head back out to get something I like. So that's a reason not to try something.
Yeah; unfortunately, some of the best beers on the market are too prohibitively priced to drink on a regular basis. If I could drink the one below every day, angels would fuck themselves with unicorn horns to the sound of Prince singing falsetto.
What a fantastic post! I've always wanted to do this but just never got around to it. If possible could you highlight your favourite beer at the very top of the post. I'm sure after all of this research we would like a clear cut winner!
It's a tie between either Gulden Draak or La Trappe. The height of beer obsession comes in the form of Belgian Ales (Strong Pale if you like lighter-colored beers or Strong Dark if you like darker-colored beers). If you can find one, check it out. If not, let me know what looks interesting at your local store, and I'll give you some recommendations.
Spending so much time at the Birch
lately has somewhat spoiled my palate with a predilection for excellent beer, so today's review involves a Belgian Quadrupel from one of the iconic Trappist breweries. As mentioned in a previous article, Trappist beer is only produced in seven breweries housed in abbeys run by Trappist monks (six in Belgium and one in the Netherlands). Brewing and selling beer is how each abbey supports itself; originally, the beer was their actual sustenance, but now it funds their charitable works in the community. The knowledge that my drinking habit is improving the lives of people half a world away makes me feel somewhat better about spending so much money on a single bottle of beer.
This particular abbey, technically entitled Our Lady of St Rémy, has been around since 1229; it has been brewing beer since 1595. In 1653, the abbey was almost entirely destroyed by French forces jealous about how much the beer was than their wine (or embroiled in a long-since forgotten conflict-- whichever you prefer). Luckily, the surviving monks rebuilt the building by 1671. Since then, numerous conflicts, controversies, and outright battles have significantly reduced both the premises and the number of monks working there. Only 15 monks currently inhabit the premises, and --in typical ascetic fashion-- they refuse to increase production even if consumers demand more beer; moreover, the brewery is closed to the public, unlike some other Trappist abbeys. Their stubbornly furtive nature adds a little mystery to the beer I'm about to drink. The fact that it earned 100 out of 100 points on RateBeer.com doesn't hurt either. Rochefort makes two other beers: 6 and 8 (the most common). The higher the number, the higher the ABV and stronger the flavor.
"It's all there, black and white, clear as crystal! You stole fizzy lifting drinks!"Trappistes Rochefort 10
Brewery: Brasserie de Rochefort
Poured into an oversized snifter. The bottle has a code that says 030215. A little research revealed that this means it was bottled March 2nd, 2010 and will be good for five years past that date (though it would probably age even longer under the proper conditions).Appearance-
4.5 out of 5. Pours a deep, dark brown like a medieval monk's robe. The formidable tan-brown head quickly fizzles away into nothing. Once it subsides, there is a little lacing left sticking around the edges. Be warned that there is a thick yeast cake sticking to the bottom of the bottle that will plop into the glass if you don't pour carefully. Once the sediment intrudes, the beer becomes cloudy and somewhat thicker.Smell-
4.5 out of 5. Sweet malt and dark fruit leap out of the glass and tickle my nose with a thousand subtle nuances. Red grapes-- almost like wine, figs, plums, and vanilla swirl in an olfactory orgy. Cocoa and caramel linger afterward. Hops are nowhere to be found, but in this case, I don't miss them. The alcohol is evident at first whiff but not unpleasant-- just a bit spicy. This is a fairly fresh bottle, so it would likely mellow with age. Not quite as enticing as La Trappe Quadrupel, but damned close.Taste-
5 out of 5. This is one of those beers whose scents blissfully match its flavor profile. Sweet caramel malt, dark bread, and fruity esters roll through my mouth like moat waters in a storm. It's like a feast from the Dark Ages bottled and sequestered away in a dusty castle alcove, saved for me to enjoy today. Everything from the smell translates into the taste but manifests more powerfully. The alcohol is strong and spreads warmth across my face; the sedimentary yeast adds a spicy, peppery note to balance out the vanilla and fruit sweetness. Only the faintest hint of herbal hops crosses my tongue, quickly washed away by an aftertaste that reminds me of port wine. The red grape taste is strong in this beer. The banality of "mouth-gasm" seems entirely too weak for this beer; "tongue-fuck" is more appropriate.Mouthfeel-
4.5 out of 5. Moderate to full-bodied. The port wine comparison is once again applicable. Creamy and smooth except for a bit of an astringent phenolic bite on the back of the tongue. The only disconcerting note is the intense tingling on my tongue like a Fizzy Lifting Drink from Willy Wonka's factory, but that fades after a few minutes in the glass.Drinkability-
5 out of 5. If I could drink this beer on a nightly basis, I would be a rapturously happy man. It's probably good that this beer is somewhat rare; widespread availability would irrevocably spoil our palates. I could easily drink three or four of these, but keep in mind that it's a beer better sipped than gulped. As it is, the review is concluding just as the glass is almost empty, and I want to shout like Captain Jack Sparrow, "why is the beer gone?!". La Trappe Quadrupel is still probably by favorite Quad of all time, but this one definitely gives it a run for its money. If you see it, buy it; budget be damned.
Overall, an A+
Be sure to leave this beer out of the refrigerator for at least ten to fifteen minutes before pouring it. The ideal serving temperature is around 50 degrees Fahrenheit, and the flavor profile won't fully develop unless you let it reach that level of warmth. Don't cheat yourself. Also, use a goblet or chalice or snifter or something other than a traditional pub glass to ensure maximum development of the nose.
For a more comprehensive history of Rochefort, the other Trappist breweries, Trappist beers, monks, and the Trappist subsect in general, check out http://www.trappistbeer.net/trappist_portalEN.htm