Earlier this week, I got an opportunity to taste some Trappist beers. These beers are brewed by the Trappist monks and usually come from Belgium and the Netherlands. As these beers are strong, sampling was done by splitting 1 bottle between 4 – about 50-75ml each! The session was led by East London and City CAMRA and organised with Slow Food London, who brought with them some artisan cheese. Note… I still haven’t got the tasting bit down to a tee yet, but here’s what I thought.
Westvleteren Blond 5.8%
Bitter after taste. Lots of hops. Not dissimilar in bitterness (in my humble opinion!) to a gueze.
Mmm. Pretty damn good. Sweet, honey flavours towards the end.
Achel Blond 8.0%
Smells a bit of pears (you’re meant to get pear on the after taste! – I said I wasn’t great at this). ‘Fluffy’, light, but not much floral for me.
La Trappe, Dubbel 7.0%
Chocolate malt taste. Less fizzy than the Achel.
Westmalle Dubbel 7.0%
Sourer, floral smell.
Rochefort 6, 7.5%
Good, toffee flavours. Smells a bit orangey. (The beer is on the left BTW – the right pot contains water that had been used to rinse the cups to try avoid mixing the beers!)
Achel Bruin 8.0%
Fruity and smooth. Some clear coriander flavours. Tastes darker than it looks.
Westvletern 8 (blue), 8.0%
Flatter with coffee flavours. Smells a bit cheesy. Probably not the 2nd best beer in the world! (Note the growing queue of samples behind the bottle – we were sharing our table with Bill, our guide for the evening – he didn’t need the full 50-75mls, knowing what you’re meant to taste!)
Rochefort 8, 9.2%
Lively. Noticeable alcohol kick. Sweet but with plenty of hops.
Westmalle Triple, 9.5%
Gueze like smell. Hoppy. Wondering if the Brewdog Hardcore IPA might taste like this.
Westvletern Abt 12, 10.2%
Rated by many as the best beer in the world…
Sweet nose. Can get the pralines described in the tasting notes – there’s chocolate but but with the sweet nut. Not bitter at all. Very easy to drink, despite it’s 10.2%.
I’m still not convinced you can label anything the best beer in the world though. Taste is such a subjective thing!
Rochefort 10, 11.3%
Last up, this one is dark, sweet and very tasty. Smell has hints of fortified wine. It does taste as strong as it’s 11.3% though.
To finish off, here are some of the wonderfully designed bottle caps.
With thanks to Slow Food London and East London & City CAMRA for putting together this event.