I just love the weirdness of Trappist beers. Why are they weird? Let me count the ways.
1) They’re made by monks. Come on, that’s weird, yeah?
2) There’s a Trappist beer police that ensures only genuine Trappist beers get to be called that and carry the official logo. Basically it’s got to be made in or near the monastery, monks have to be in charge of the whole shebang and the profits have to be spent in the community. If anyone tries to be sneaky and whack the logo on without fulfilling these criteria, then the association calls in the lawyers and sue the bejesus out of them. Or something like that.
3) ‘‘Trappist beer’’ isn’t really a style. You buy a pale ale, IPA, stout or porter and you know what you’re gonna get, because they’re recognised styles. But the term ‘‘Trappist beers’’ means they’re categorised by who makes them, not what they taste like.
One of my favourite Trappist beers is Chimay White, also known as ‘‘Cinq Cents’’. Which, being the dux of French in high school that I was, I can translate into ‘‘500’’. Though you could just as easily use Google to get the same answer. The ‘‘500’’ in question refers to it being made to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the town of Chimay – just in case you cared.
One of the reasons I like it is because I find it the most easy drinking of the Chimay beers. I had them all fairly early on in my good beer journey and found the blue and red too overpowering – though I do have both of them in my cellar now and am interested to see if my palate has since developed enough to handle them.
Another reason I like this one is because of the neat bubblegum and clove aromas. At least I think it’s clove – don’t believe I’ve ever actually sniffed genuine cloves so I don’t know what they smell like. But people talk about cloves with Trappist beers, so cloves it is.
That bubblegum comes through in the flavour as well, slightly sweet, along with the spices. There’s a bit of alcohol burn at the back end, which isn’t surprising for an eight per cent beer but still much less that you might expect.
As far as the Trappist beers go, this one is probably the closest you’ll get to a sessionable one.
Categories: beer review