Friday, March 15, 2013

March 15: Karl and the Tale of the St. Bernardus Prior 8

The jig is up, the news is out, they've finally found St. B

Beware the Ides of March, dear reader! Today I am set to enjoy a brew from St. Bernardus, the group of rouge monks who, rumor has it, stole the recipes for the world’s greatest beers from the abbey that produces Westvleteren and began brewing down the road a little ways. Westvleteren is neigh impossible to get your lips on on a regular basis, but the readily available St. Bernardus usually comes through in a pinch. Their beers are moderately priced and generally very tasty. Whilst I am very familiar with their flagship “12” I don’t know if I have ever had their dubbel, the Prior 8. The number 8 and these “Renegade” monks reflect our album choice this evening: Styx’s Pieces of Eight, or one of the few albums with more Tommy Shaw rock hits than Dennis DeYoung ballads. May St. Bernardus help you overcome those long nights and impossible odds.

The beer pours a muddy brown with a solid one finger head that sticks the landing beautifully. The nose is invitingly sweet, smelling like a cherry vanilla coca-cola, with the alcohol slightly noticeable. It’s kind of like the menthol burn from a cough drop. The beer itself is incredibly complex. I could list flavors for days it seems, but the most prominent are dark fruits, bubble gum, grapes (not wine), cola, and dark breads. It is sweet, but not overly, and as it warms cloves and other spices seem to come out to balance out the sweetness . There is a ton of carbonation, and it finishes tangy, sweet and dry with no hints of the 8% alcohol. I can drink this stuff like it was a soda, which is dangerous. In fact I think this must have been the beverage that Ray Davies was talking about at the bar down in old Soho where they drank champagne that taste just like Coca-Cola. This is a great beer that you can usually get for a near-Blue Collar Man price, and while I don’t know if it is exactly the idyllic portrait of the style (Westmalle Dubbel for me), it’s like Mr. Pibb plus Red Vines: Crazy delicious!

Rating: A 

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