28 September 2007

Roundtable #29 | Heaven in a bottle

Imagine life in a monastic community. You live in seclusion and self-imposed poverty. The majority of each day consists of prayer and meditation. You also work each morning and afternoon, tending to the chores that must be done to enable the monastery to function--washing clothes, sweeping floors, preparing food, weeding the vegetable garden, etc.

Now imagine that instead of washing clothes, sweeping floors, preparing food, and weeding the vegetable garden, your job is to brew beer. This is not exactly the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a monk's work, but it is exactly the job that some Trappist monks have. They brew a style of Belgian beers called, logically, Trappist beers.

Seven breweries currently brew authentic Trappist beers. All are in Belgium except for one, which is in the Netherlands--Brouwerij de Koningshoeven. This brewery makes six beers, which are sold under the La Trappe name everywhere except the United States and Canada, where they are sold under the Konings Hoeven label.

As Mike mentioned, we tried the Konings Hoeven Quadrupel last night at BadaBoomz. We went into this roundtable intending to review New Albanian's Hoptimus IPA, which we sampled this summer at the Phoenix Theatre's Brew-Ha-Ha and the Indiana Microbrewer's Festival. Unfortunately, BadaBoomz still has not tapped the keg of Hoptimus that is currently sitting in their cellar.

Therefore, we trusted Jason and Mike to come up with another choice. I'm happy to say that they hit a home run with the Konings Hoeven Quadrupel. The adjectives that this beer conjured up in my mental notes are "luscious" and "divine" (the latter makes sense considering that monks made the beer). It poured with very little head and a somewhat cloudy but rich mahogany color. The nose was sweet and had notes of caramel and ripe bananas. The mouthfeel was silky; the beer literally glided from the front to the back of my mouth. The taste was candy-like. I imagined caramel drizzled over ripe fruit. Despite the sweetness, this beer was very, very drinkable, and at 10% ABV, very dangerous if not sipped.

In short, this is one of the best beers that we've reviewed. 5 mugs from me.

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