La Trappe Isid’or Trappist Ale – 7.5% ABV
Belgian Ales are always a nice change from the typical malt-heavy stouts or the hop-forward tartness of an IPA. I have had my share of Belgians and have enjoyed them all. My colleague Irving is a huge Belgian beer lover and I can understand his amorous attitude towards those brews. This particular beer we have today is a good old fashioned trappist ale, straight from the old country. Today I’m drinking La Trappe Isid’or.
In case we’ve forgotten to indulge you before, here is a little bit of a back story or education for you newbies on Trappist beers – Trappist Ales are brewed by trappist monks in their monastery, also known as an abbey. True genuine Trappist beers only come from one of two places, six Trappist monasteries in Belgium and one in the Netherlands. You will often see the words Abbey Ale or Trappist Ale when referring to such beers. Interestingly enough, the name trappist actually comes from the La Trappe Abbey, a monastery that was located in Soligny-la-Trappe, Orne, France. The entire purpose of brewing beer in the abbey is to generate income for the monastery. I would like to think that they also enjoy the fruits of their labor. I know I certainly would. The head of the monastery, or abbey, is know as the Abbot. There are several beers with the name Abbot on them, one such delight is Abbot 12 by St. Bernardus. A review of that beer is definitely in order. We have all enjoyed it thoroughly and its redeeming qualities should be presented to the masses. Soon…
La Trappe is a beer brewed from Bierbrouwerij De Koningshoeven B.V., located in Berkel-Enschot in the Netherlands. Remember before when I said that a real Trappist beer only comes from Belgium or the Netherlands. Case in point here. The bottle hosts what appears to be a monk on the label. But this is no ordinary monk. This is Isidorus Laaber, whom the beer is named after. He was a friar who started this monastery as well as the brewery within it nearly 130 years ago. But enough with the history lesson. Let’s get to brass tacks – the beer.
La Trappe Isid’or pours a nice chestnut brown color and leaves a nice creamy two-finger beige head above it. A more vigorous pour could probably yield two and a half to three fingers. Regardless, this thing is nicely carbonated and produces plenty of creamy and foamy head. The retention seems pretty nice, as the head stays around for a short while before diminishing to a thin film above the brew with a nice solid ring around the edge of the glass. It exudes an aroma of those delicious Belgian candied sugars and dark fruit. The brown is fairly hazy, and if you were to view it in smaller quantities, the color would be closer to an orange-amber than brown. But whatever, we’re not pouring shots here.
Tasting it is something not altogether unlike the aroma, but with some added depth. The taste is driven by dark malty sweetness, with a fruit and spice component reminiscent of apples and coriander. Again those candied sugars and some Belgian yeast help to produce a driving caramel/toffee flavor, medium body and a velvety smooth mouthfeel. There is little bitterness or hop presence, despite being brewed with Perle hops. Never had these before, something new indeed. They are obviously very mild if they are so hard to notice. In the finish is the boozy burn that continues to build steadily with each sip. It’s not one that is uncomfortable after a while, but it is strong enough to make you take notice. This is another fine brew that is best served at a higher temperature, probably in the area of 45-50 degrees (F). Remember the rule of thumb – the darker it is, the warmer you drink it. If you want to really enjoy the flavor dynamics, you have to let it warm. So pull that sucker out of the fridge and let it sweat a while before you pop it open and drink it. You’ll thank me later.
In closing, La Trappe Isid’or is another fine Belgian Strong Pale Ale that I have come to enjoy. If you can get your hands on this one, savor it. It was a pleasure for me to drink, and I hope you find the same happiness when you imbibe. Cheers!