Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Review: St. Bernardus Witbier & Abt 12

File this one under:

Alright, so as you may remember from a few posts back I picked up a two of each of these selections from the Belgian brewery St. Bernardus, which technically isn't a "Trappist brewery" because the brewing isn't done within the walls of a monestary, but nonetheless produces some of the world's finest Belgian ales.  On the last trip to Calandro's I picked up two of my favorites, the Witbier, and the Abt 12.

Starting with the St. Bernardus Witbier...

I poured it from a small 11.2 oz. bottle into a Castlemaine XXXX glass, stolen from a pub in Galway, Ireland after I wiped out their last keg of the XXXX Gold Lager beer.  While that's a different story it's important to note that despite this being a Belgian ale I didn't pour it into a typical goblet.  Witbiers (often referred to as white ales) are best out of a pint glass or other similar drinking vessel.  This particular witbier had a murky gold color, with a nice creamy white head. There was a lot of lacing as the head dissipated. 

The aroma is just what you would want in a Witbier... a strong smell of wheat, with hints of various fruits and spices. The taste follows that up very nicely, a hint of lemon, some banana, with some definite spice. Delicious. 

This one feels great in the mouth, and is one of the more drinkable beers I've had in a while. All in all, a superb and refreshing witbier.  It's no surprise that beeradvocate rates this one cumulatively as the best witbier available!  If you're looking to branch out into different beers this would be a fantastic starting point.

Now for the Abt 12... darker, bolder, and just as good!


Unlike the Witbier, this one is a Quad and deserves a goblet to release the aroma and flavors as the beer reacts with the oxygen.  The beer pours a tootsie-roll brown, with a one-finger creamy head. It took a while to dissipate and left a little lacing. Some creamy residue on the surface of the beer as well. 

The aroma is malty, a little sweet, hints of spice, and VERY inviting. I can't wait to dive in. The taste is more of the same, very well balanced with a smack of clove and other spice at the beginning and then a malty sweet taste as the beer goes down. This is the best St. Bernardus offering I've had yet... phenomenal.  No surprise again that beeradvocate users rank this one as the third best quad in existence, behind the Westvletern 12 (which you have to go to Belgium to find!) and the Rochefort 10.  Again, stateside, this one is going to be hard to beat.

So there you have it... two of the best beers in the world, that you can find on a shelf just down the street.  They aren't cheap, but totally worth it.

Taste: A
Value: A

Abt 12:
Taste: A+
Value A

And now I'm off to Lafayette for a tasting of some Parish Brewing beers... yum!

Witbier on Foodista

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