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Beer: Spencer Trappist Ale

What is it, and what it tastes like The rich orange colour, the unmistakable pounce of banana as the Belgian yeast releases its aromas – so much about this pale ale matches those famed beers brewed by Cistercian Trappist monks in Europe, such as Chimay, La Trappe and Rochfort. Except the monastery in question here is not in Flanders but in Spencer, Massachusetts, and for some time the guardians of the style didn’t even want their American brothers at the St Joseph’s Abbey to get started. Director of brewing Father Isaac Keeley reported when the beer was launched back in 2014 that it had taken great persuasion to get the European Cistercians to help with the recipe, and 20 attempts before the brew was approved. Now, however, it’s the first certified Trappist beer outside of Europe, and getting distribution as far away as Singapore. A raucous, gushing pour produces a thick, off-white head, with wafts of pomelo, white flowers and the aforementioned banana. Push your nose in deeper and there’s an unctuous sourness – vanilla yoghurt. On the tongue, sweetness starts, then extends through the mid-palate with more fruit; slight acidity – pomegranate tartness – offers balance, with a honeyed bitterness to hook you in for more.

Available from Singapore – TSA Wines.

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