Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Beer Review - Spencer Trappist Ale

Spencer American Trappist Ale - 6.5% ABV

We are beer snobs.  You probably know that by now.  And what beers do we consider the best beers made?  C'mon, you know, the snobbiest of the snobby beers.  That's right, the Trappist beers, which are produced by the 11 Trappist breweries.  6 in Belgium, 2 in the Netherlands, one in Austria, one in Italy and the last in ..... Spencer, Massechusetts!?!  Who knew their was a Trappist brewery in the frigging U.S.?!?  Knot eye.

The brothers from the St. Joseph's Abbey in Spencer, Massechusetts, which just released it's first beer, spent 2 years touring the Trappist breweries in Europe, learning the craft of craft beers from their European brethren.  The last, and longest, stop on their tour was at the Abbey of Sint Sixtus, where the acclaimed Westvleteren ales are produced and if this beer is even close to what Westvleteren produces then we have us a big win.  Our opinion is that there is not a single beer produced by Trappists which is not incredible.  Well, up to now that was our opinion.

Their website says that their recipe was inspired by the traditional refectory ales known as patersbier in Belgium.  These beers are session beers for their dinner table and are typically only available at the monastery.  This one is .... interesting.  The overpowering flavor driver to the beer is the live yeast, whose flavors overpower everything else.  Being unfiltered and unpasteurized the yeast continues to add flavor and aroma even after bottled.

The beer is a cloudy golden/orange with yeasty aroma and a substantial fluffy white head,  The brewers describe the flavor of the beer as full bodied with fruity accents, light hops and dry finish.  We can agree with that to an extent.  All of the panel of tasters describe the flavor as a yeast bomb with the yeast drowning out the accompanying flavors needed to make it a great beer.  It is quite one dimensional.  The fruity accents are much like that of a person born in a foreign land that has lived in the U.S. for most of their life.  You kind of hear an accent in the background when they speak but are not really sure what you are hearing.  Perhaps it is just a speech impediment, and you are afraid to bring it up.  The fruit flavor is their, but hard to identify, or even locate.  It is mildly hoppy and as described, it has a dry finish.  All of the 5 panelist describe the beer as 'something is missing'.

While the beer is pretty good it does not come close to the magnificence that we have come to expect with other Trappist beers.  We will give it this caveat, it is a great first try.

Spencer Trappist Ale is produced by the St. Joseph's Abbey in Spencer, Mass.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

European Beer Tour With the Snobs

European Beer Tour

We have a very exciting offer for all of you snobs. We are partnering with Go Tours to offer you an affordable option to visit all of the places that we love to visit while drinking our way through Europe. 

Belgium?  Of course!  We'll tour the ancient city of Bruges and partake in traditional Belgian beer tastings as well as sampling the delicious Belgian foods.  Because Belgium is such a beer drinkers wonderland with so, so many beers to try, we will have lots of personal time for our own explorations or join in on optional tours of a few Abbeys (Maredsous Abby anyone?).

We'll stumble through the streets of Brussels, pinballing from pub to pub, stuffing Belgian chocolates and frites in our faces as we go.  Heaven.

Let's see ... is there another country where we can partake of wonderful, traditional beers?  Maybe .... Germany?  Hell, yes!  We'll visit Cologne where we will tour the town and then partake in a  K├Âlsch tasting.  You may stroll around the town for a bit, stretching your legs and exploring pubs then on the bus and off to Wurzburg, for a bit of a change of pace.

While Germany is justly famous for it's beer, the German wines are also quite lovely.  We'll travel down the Rhine valley and stop in the ancient town of Rudesheim am Rhein and partake in a wine sampling then on to Wurzburg, where we will tour the Residents Palace, a UNESCO world heritage site.  Next stop .... Bamberg.

Ah, Bamberg, the German City of Beer.  Ask any Germany which city is best know for beers and they will tell you Bamberg.  There are literally hundreds of breweries in this small city and while we can't visit them all, we can try, can't we?

Last stop on the tour is Munich.  We have spent many a drunken night stumbling around the beer halls of Munich.  As a group we will visit Andechs Brewery and tour the town.  You may have the fortitude to visit the Big 6 Breweries on your own.

We would love to share our love of beer exploration with our beer snob friends.  Please visit for all of the pertinent information and please share this offer with your friends.  That is 12 glorious days with people that you know that share your passion for fine beers and exploration.  There are opportunities to add on side tours or extend your trip to visit Prague as well.

The minimum needed for the tour is 16 brave souls, but we will happily entertain as many as 28.  Please email us with any questions at  We look forward to hearing from you.