Here is a Trappist beer made in England – a timely Brexit backstop.
Mount Saint Bernard Abbey Tynt Meadow English Trappist® Ale became available last July after a five year development programme by the monks. It has come as a timely replacement for the established range of Trappist ales, which are mostly Belgian, as a backstop against a potential interruption of supply as our new relationship with the EU takes shape.
Trappist beers are brewed by monks, and Tynt Meadow, Leicestershire is where Mount St Bernard Abbey, a Cistercian Monastery of St Benedict, was founded in 1835. Cistercians have always been farmers and for the Mount St Bernard Abbey it was their only source of income.
But with farming in England becoming so difficult, especially when the price of milk increasingly fell below cost, in 2013 they decided it was no longer viable to continue. The new source they turned to was brewing.
The abbey was rebuilt in 1844 and there is historical evidence that beer was brewed there in the 19th century, but the recipe was lost.
So, with a lot of help from brewing abbeys in Belgium and the International Trappist® Association, the Leicestershire monks set about re-creating their Trappist-style ale. They followed the Belgian tradition of naming their beers after their location, hence their brand name Tynt Meadow.
The recipe is simple and entirely English: barley, hops and yeast. The brew is twice-fermented; the first fermentation taking place in the tank and the second in the bottle.
The result is mahogany-coloured with a subtle, warm red hue and a lasting beige head, and it is a meaty 7.4 per cent abv like most Belgian Trappist beers. The brewer’s notes say the beer is full-bodied, gently balancing the taste of dark chocolate, pepper and fig. It leaves a warm and dry finish on the palate.
Buy from www.BeerHawk.co.uk or from firstname.lastname@example.org, £2.99 for a 330ml bottle, discounted to £2.49 each in a six bottle case (totalling £38.49). Delivery is £4.99 or free if the total purchase is more than £50. Or visit the Abbey shop where other items made by the monks are sold.
Not just for Christmas
The gin revolution continued apace during 2018, possibly to the point of saturation. Where to next for the craft enterprises behind them?
You must have seen them on the shelves at Christmas – a spate of ready-flavoured gins. There has been a huge array of new themed seasonal novelties of limited production, 20 per cent abv flavoured liqueurs, good for winter warmers or substitutes for dessert wine.
In the run up to Christmas Aldi had 10 varieties, M&S had a few as did most supermarkets and even my local garden centre. They were designed to sell out, which they mostly did.
Commissioned for Aldi, the Infusionist Small Batch Gingerbread Gin Liqueur is sweet and gingery, as it says on the label. Designed to be drunk neat, it can also be enjoyed with ginger ale mixer.
It followed the Infusionist Passionfruit Gin Liqueur, which sold out within days of hitting Aldi’s shelves. It is now back on sale and the success of them both is likely to encourage more seasonal novelties, maybe for Easter or summer.
I anticipate the gingerbread liqueur is certain to be back in October for Christmas, and I predict the Infusionist will expand its flavours and may well build as a year-round ‘brand’ in an otherwise own-label offering.