Day 15 of the Beer Hawk advent calendar sees another offering from a Cistercian Order of Strict Observance, this time it’s a Westmalle Tripel from the Trappist Abbey of Westmalle, Belgium. It’s quite a strong brew (9.5%) which I‘ve drank previously, and has a BBE Sept 2018 date on it. So, it’s going in the pantry with the other strong ones, to be sampled on a day in the future. That might not be that far ahead, but it certainly won’t be before Christmas because I’m setting off to Belgium tonight to go and ask the monks whether they think their beer is ‘craft’ beer or not? They’ll probably look at me daft and think what in God’s name is he going on about, it’s beer, Abbey beer, but we’re Trappists so it can therefore rightly be called Trappist beer, of the Belgian variety, as opposed to the couple of Dutch Trappist monasteries, and the odd one or two elsewhere that also brew beer.
Everyone is now thinking, ‘He can’t be serious, can he, going to Belgium to ask whether it’s ‘craft’ or not’? The answer is no, I’m not! But I’m 100% certain that if I did, just like you, the monks would truly think I was barmy. Thing is though, I really think they would just say it’s beer, their beer. And I would tell them I thought it was very very good beer. Seriously, I would recommend anyone who is interested to have a look at their website, it really is a nice introduction to their life and work, including a section on the brewery.
This is the third strong Belgian ale to emanate from my Advent Calendar, which sort of got me wondering about the prices? I started to compile (not scientifically viable) how much each bottle would cost. If it was available on the Beer Hawk site then I used their price, if not, the first online shop that came up on a Google search for that beer. Surprisingly, four were not available on the Beer Hawk site and two more were shown as out of stock? Anyway, after 15 days, the mean price per bottle equates to £2.69, which extrapolates to roughly £65 quids worth of beer in the full case. It is possible that a late run of more expensive bottles would increase this average, I doubt whether I’m going to see a flurry of bottles at £8 or £9 though. I’m also doubting whether I will see a dark beer neither? Value for money? Well the case was advertised at £75 (inc P&P), although Mrs C reckoned that with discount, at the death, she got two at £65 each (my son has the other one).
I know you get discounts on cases and the like, but overall, I don’t think that’s too bad, we pay over the odds for everything at Christmas, and I don’t begrudge anyone earning an honest crust. There is of course the theory raised in the comments on Boak & Baileys post about my thoughts on Früh Kölsch to be addressed – Ordering mystery boxes is a mug’s game, full stop — 30 per cent OK beers, 50 per cent weird stuff they couldn’t shift, 20 per cent stuff you can get in the local corner shop. (To generalise rudely.) You might have started to formulate an opinion from what you’ve seen already? Me? I’m going to leave answering this until the end, I’ve noticed the door to Day 24 is twice as large as the rest?