Sunday, April 4, 2010

Sunday Suds: La Trappe Isid'or

I've been meaning to start a regular beer feature here for some time. No time like the present, no? My chosen moniker — "Sunday Suds" — is intended to deliver enough of a self-administered kick in the butt to keep it going. I'm not promising something every week, mind you, but I'll do my best to make it at least a semi-regular feature. Without further ado, here's Sunday Suds #1.

Brewery de Koningshoeven, La Trappe "Isid'or" (7.5% alcohol, 750 ml)
In spite of the fact that Brewery de Koningshoeven is located in The Netherlands, I think it's fair to call this a Belgian-style amber ale or, perhaps more appropriately, a Trappist-style amber ale. One of only seven Trappist breweries in operation today, and the only one to be found outside the borders of Belgium, de Koningshoeven marked the 125th anniversary of the foundation of their brewery with the 2009 release of this commemorative beer. "Isid'or" is named for the brewery's founder, friar Isidorus Laaber, and will, at least in theory, be a one-time release. Time will tell whether its success will find it a place in the brewery's regular rotation.

Slightly cloudy and medium-amber colored in the glass, the beer's subtle hint of sweetness is balanced by a mildly bitter finish, driven by a subtle hop influence and its lightly roasted malt character. It paired more than admirably with a bowl of Kennett Square mushroom soup dressed up with local ramps and a bone marrow fritter (more details on that dish, part of a recent dinner at Talula's Table, later this week if time permits). The only thing I found lacking in the context of the pairing was acidity... but that's an issue I have with all but a few styles of beer. Perhaps a matter for discussion in a larger context on another day.... One thing, taste aside, that I really do dig about the beer is that it's brewed using "own-grown" hops, farmed by the friars themselves; very cool, and something that I believe is done at very few other breweries, regardless of location.

If you're a fan of Trappist ales, snag a bottle or three of this while it can still be found, just in case the Monks at the Koningshoeven Abbey hold true to the one-time plans for "Isid'or." All profits from its sale will be donated by the Friars to their brother Monks in Uganda to help them establish a new monastery.


Ryan said...

Nice - love the Sunday Suds feature. As they say in winemaking, "it takes a lot of great beer to make great wine." I haven't tried La Trappe Isid'or before - have to see if I can hunt it down.



David McDuff said...

Hey Ryan,
Thanks for stopping by and for your feedback on the new Sunday feature. It's taken me a month to get to a second edition (as well as to respond to your comment), but I'll definitely keep 'em coming.

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