by Brian Mitchell, Corporate Beverage Director for Max Restaurant Group
When a club has only eight members in the entire world, you can call it exclusive. Well one club of eight has just added a new member. The St. Joseph’s Abbey of Spencer Massachusetts, has launched a new brewery which is to become the ninth brewery in the world to be allowed to make Trappist Ales. (This is the same abbey that makes the Trappist Preserves label of jams.)
An order of Cistercian monks descended from an order begun in 1098 in France, the modern day monks are carrying on the tradition of generations before them by making beer and brewing an integral part of the “business” of the monastery. By definition, all Trappist beers must be made under the watch of monks within the grounds of a Trappist abbey, and proceeds must go back into the running and operational benefits of the abbey. At one time there were nearly 200 Trappist breweries, but today there are only eight, or now nine.
The first beer brewed by the Spencer Brewery is the Spencer American Trappist Ale, and Max Burger in Longmeadow, Mass, has been fortunate enough to get a couple of the first cases. We will be offering these, while they last, in the 11.2 oz bottle size. At 6.5% abv, this is a classic Belgian ale with a slightly cloudy soft golden color, medium-body and , bright and crisp on the palate and a smooth finish with just a touch of hops.
The Spencer beers are produced under the guidance of the Chimay Brewery (one of the other nine Trappist Breweries), from which advisers from Belgium have traveled to the US in order to get the new brewery up and running.
The word is that we will also be able to get some of the first kegs available from the new brewery by the end of the month and we will update then when we know more accurately what and when. Suffice it to say, though, that we are very excited to be participating in this point in beer history. Come in and be a part of it as well.