5 Craft Brewers and Their Favorite Abbey-Style Ales | Craft Beer & Brewing

5 Craft Brewers and Their Favorite Abbey-Style Ales

Many American brewers are influenced by Belgian brewing traditions, and they’re eager to rave about their favorite monastic, or monastic-inspired, ales.

Emily Hutto 3 years ago

5 Craft Brewers and Their Favorite Abbey-Style Ales Primary Image

Many American brewers are influenced by Belgian brewing traditions, and they’re eager to rave about their favorite monastic, or monastic-inspired, ales.

Orval and Chimay Blue

With the somewhat ambiguous terminology surrounding abbey-style ales today, I am inclined to revert to one of the seven remaining Trappist brewers. The only problem I am having now is whether to select Orval (Belgium) and its yeast strains for its wonderfully refreshing flavor or Chimay Blue (Belgium) for its unmistakably rich character. Let’s call it a tie.—Michael Hoops, Head Brewer at Town Hall Brewery, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Bosteels Brewery Tripel Karmeliet and Allagash Tripel

I love Tripel Karmeliet from the Bosteels Brewery (Belgium) for many reasons. One, is that I can always pour it for someone “who doesn’t like beer” and get a strong, positive response. It is complex and lush in a charming, simple way. The flavors I perceive in it, mainly orange-blossom honey and pear, are unique and right in line with what I want from a luscious tripel. Also, of the many wonderful beers that Rob Tod and crew deliver at Allagash (Portland, Maine), their Tripel remains one of my favorites. The beer is huge in fruit aromas and flavors, offering lots of tropical fruit sweetness up front and all the way across your tongue, but it ends dry on the palate. What a fantastic ride!—Bill Covaleski, Brewmaster and President at Victory Brewing Company, Downington, Pennsylvania

Lost & Found Abbey Ale

One of my favorite abbey ales has been Lost & Found Abbey Ale by The Lost Abbey (San Marcos, California). I’ve always been a fan of that beer because of its huge raisiny, figgy, nutty, biscuit flavors. It’s a great beer to lay down and drink after a year or two—if you can wait that long.—Paul Segura, Brewmaster at Karl Strauss Brewing Company, San Diego, California

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Orval and Russian River Temptation

In the case of abbey-style beers, I really enjoy an Orval that has been conditioned in the bottle for a few or more years. As it turns out, someone stateside brews a similar beer, but he has created and evolved his process to make what I think is probably a superior product. For Russian River’s Temptation (Santa Rosa, California), Vinnie Cilurzo uses local Sonoma County chardonnay barrels that he inoculates with a host of souring organisms and then ages the beer for about a year. It’s really a moderate-strength blonde beer with a touch of chardonnay and oak character, notable Brett _character, and a solidly sour finish. Is this really an abbey-style ale you may ask? I believe that it is, and it is a damn fine one at that.—Kevin Ely, Brewmaster at Uinta Brewing Company, Salt Lake City, Utah_

St. Bernardus Abt 12

I think St. Bernardus Abt 12 (Belgium) is a beer that strikes a perfect balance. It’s estery without being harsh, strong without being cloying, and complex but drinkable. It’s just a beautiful beer.—Gordon Schuck, Co-owner and Brewmaster at Funkwerks, Fort Collins, Colorado

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