Category Archives: Featured Beer
By kaikai | Published: May 17, 2013
Lefebvre (the ‘b’ is silent), was started in 1876 to help quench the thirst of the quarry workers in the region. After being dismantled by the Germans in WWI the brewery was moved to a hillside just outside Brussels. This also helped Jules Lefebvre, the founder, avoid the annual flooding of the Seine River. By the 1920s, Brasserie Lefebvre was one of the most modernized breweries in the area, and one of only a few that had the ability to bottle their beer. Throughout the century the brewery weathered the turmoil in Europe as well as any could. New beers are created and the brewery is handed down to the new generations of Lefebvres. The brewery’s first experiment with export outside of Belgium comes along in 1980, and proves a great success. It was in 1989 that the revival of wheat ales, once quite popular in the agrarian countryside of Europe, gave birth to ‘la Student’; soon to be renamed Blanche de Bruxelles. Among the first things one may notice upon receiving a bottle is the label. The ‘Manneken Pis’ (aka Petite Julien and Little Man Peeing) is a famous statue in Brussels depicting a young boy urinating into a fountain. The history of this landmark is as confused as it is humorous. One story of the fountain goes that during a siege of Brussels in the 14th Century, a young boy within the city spied the opposition setting explosives and urinated on the fuse, thus saving the city of Brussels. Another story says that the boy was the son of a wealthy merchant that was visiting Brussels. During his stay the boy was lost, and the whole city was scoured in search of him. He was finally found in a small garden relieving himself and smiling contently. Whichever story you may believe, the depiction of the ‘Little Man Peeing’ on the Blanche de Bruxelles label adds a bit of whimsical humor to go along with a delicious beer. Witbiers and white ales were widespread and popular style from about the 11th century through the late 1800s. Witbiers were among the first styles to use hops, which is ironic because today they are viewed as one of a few styles that necessitate seasonings other than hops. Orange peel, coriander, chamomile, and sometimes black pepper are carefully chosen to add the spicy notes to witbiers. An over or under ripe ingredient could end up adding vegetal, moldy, or sour flavors that aren’t complimentary to the style or other ingredients. Blanche de Bruxelles doesn’t disappoint in any category. It pours light bodied with a pearly white head. Aromas of coriander, orange peel, and noble hops leave your mouth watering in anticipation. A touch of apricot and apple fruitiness makes way for a dry, spicy finish. Light bodied and refreshing, Blanche de Bruxelles is perfect for a hot day, and a favorite of Monk’s staff with our mussels and scallops dishes. Cheers!
By kaikai | Published: May 7, 2013
De Proef Brewery has a very different story than many other breweries in the world. Dirk Naudt and his wife Saskia Waerniers started De Proefbrouwerij in 1996. Dirk, a former professor of brewing science, started the brewery with the idea of being the ‘cleanest brewery in the world’. By all accounts he has succeeded in this endeavor. When you ferment a brettanomyces infused beer in a tank between a Czech pilsner and an imperial stout cleanliness needs to be at the top of your priorities. De Proef does all this and much more. De Proef has specifically outfitted itself as a developer and producer of beers for third parties. With brewing systems ranging in size from about 6 barrels to 90 barrels, Dirk is able to offer his expertise to both large and small breweries. Many of the smaller and start-up breweries that come to Dirk either don’t have the money to produce the beer on their own, or are looking for an amazing or different product out of the gate. The larger breweries that approach De Proef may be looking to make a beer that is very different from their normal product lines, they may be contracting De Proef to help them meet demand on their normal products, or they may just be looking to collaborate on something special. Each of the breweries that approach De Proef have a consultation with Dirk to figure out whether or not the beers and companies are a good fit for one another. Dirk frequently collaborates with the head brewers of these companies in creating the recipe, selecting raw materials, and adapting the technology of the brewery to meet the customer’s needs. Three brew houses, 58 fermenters, two bottling lines, two kegging lines, and a very committed team of beer geeks lends De Proefbrouwerij flexibility and integrity in everything they do. This month we are featuring a beer of Dirk’s that hasn’t been brewed for another company. The K-O, or Knockout, is all De Proef. Brewed with pure malt, loads of hops, and tons of candi sugar, the Knockout tends to live up to its name. A very malty profile with honey, yeast, and caramel on the nose, K-O opens up with ripe apricot and a touch of vanilla. A large hop profile, mainly pine and citrus, help hide the high alcohol like a sucker punch. This one will sneak up on you if you let it. In the blue corner weighing in at 10% alcohol by volume, the commander from Flanders, the muscle out of Brussels, the Knockout!
By kaikai | Published: May 1, 2013
Founded in 1293, Engelszell Abbey is the only Trappist monastery in Austria. Engelszell was originally established as a daughter house of Wilhering Abbey located a bit south in Linz, Austria. The abbey grounds have had an interesting history. Reformation during the Renaissance era brought economic and spiritual decline to the area, negating the impact of the monastery on the community. In the late 1700s the abbey was abolished by the many sweeping legal and religious reforms of the Roman Emperor. Through the years the old abbey was used as a residence for different governmental offices and factories. In 1931 the abbey was reestablished by Trappist monks from the Oelenberg Abbey in Eastern France. The abbey weathered the second world war and the economic troubles that plagued much of Europe in the following years. Although Engelszell received the Trappist designation for their cheese in 2009, it wasn’t until May of 2012 that Engelszell was approved as the 8th Trappist beer producer in the world, and the second outside of Belgium. The Trappist certification was created primarily to prevent commercial companies from abusing or misrepresenting the Trappist name. To be registered as a Trappist brewery the brewery must meet very specific criteria.
- The beer must be brewed within the walls of a Trappist monastery. The brewing process itself must be either done by the monks themselves or under their direct supervision.
- The beer must be of ‘secondary’ importance to the monastery after prayer and the monastic way of life. In addition all the business practices of the brewery must follow monastic principles.
- The brewery must make itself available to constant monitoring by the International Trappist Association to ensure the beers are of the highest quality.
- The monastery must not use the brewery as a profit making business. The income should only cover the costs of sustaining the brewery, monastery, and monks. Incomes beyond these costs are donated to social charities.
By bensbrew | Published: May 29, 2012
Featured Beer: De Proef Gageleer Up until recently, I had a serious problem: I was simply not getting enough bog myrtle in my diet. Thankfully, all that ended this week when we brought in bottles of the delicious Belgian beer known as Gageleer. This cloudy yellow beverage is flavored with bog myrtle (aka Myrica gale), and the effect is magical. As unappetizing as it sounds, bog myrtle actually has a long relationship with beer. Prior to the adoption of hops as the key preservative and flavoring agent in beer, much of the world used a spice mixture known as gruit. Gruit commonly contained bog myrtle for its tasty flavor and antiseptic properties. Lochristi, Belgium’s De Proefbrouwerij has embraced that history by creating this delicious beer. Full-bodied and rich, the beer has a heavily spiced, herbaceous aroma akin to anise, orange and myrrh. Slightly bitter and decidedly sweet, this complex sipper is sure to satisfy on its own, but try pairing it with our scallops or brick chicken dishes. Now available on the Monk’s Kettle bottle list!
By bensbrew | Published: May 25, 2012
Ahhhh, the taste of rarity. We here at the Monk’s Kettle have received what may
very well be the only keg of Great Divide’s 18th Anniversary Wood-Aged IPA in all of
California. But don’t get too hung up on exclusivity; let the liquid do the talking. This
beer is delicious.
Tapped for Monday’s Great Divide beer dinner, you too can now enjoy the tasty
wares of Denver, Colorado’s most respected brewery.
Our chef, Adam Dulye calls this “one of the top three double IPAs I’ve ever had,” and
for good reason. Complex but balanced, this beer won’t rip apart your taste buds.
The considerable hoppiness is complemented by the tannins and woody flavors
associated with four months of aging on French and American oak chips, and the
caramel maltiness goes a long way towards offsetting any abrasive flavors in this
massive beer. Hop bitterness and a pleasant alcohol warmth dries out the beer’s
finish, leaving a dangerously drinkable dose of deliciousness in every glass. Look for
flavors of caramel, oak, grapefruit and black currant.
By bensbrew | Published: May 16, 2012
Black IPAs are so 2011. This year, it’s all about white IPAs, you see, and we’re excited to have tapped our one-and-only keg of Linchpin White IPA, a collaborative
beer between San Diego’s Green Flash Brewing Company and Midwest favorite
Founders Brewing Company. If you haven’t heard of Founders, there’s a reason.
They may be one of the most lauded breweries within a rapidly growing American
craft beer scene, but the Grand Rapids, Michigan-based brewery does not sell their
beer here in California.
Linchpin represents Founders’ first inter-brewery collaboration, and will likely be
the only taste of their brewing skills you’ll see on the west coast for quite some time.
The beer itself is a slightly hazy, unfiltered hybridization of the Belgian witbier and
American IPA styles. Taking the best of both, the liquid itself has the smooth wheat
character of a witbier and the bright, citrusy hoppiness of a west coast IPA. Round
that out with zippy Belgian yeast character and a long hop bitterness on the finish
and you’ve got yourself a complete package of a beer. Look for flavors and aromas
reminiscent of kiwi, tangerine and pine.
Get here soon—it won’t last long!
By bensbrew | Published: March 31, 2012
Exploration and innovation have always been hallmarks of mankind. The same spirit that sent pathfinders, like Captain Cook, sailing from Britain to the shores of Australia and the rocky coastlines of Alaska animates today's trailblazers. Wherever you find a frontier, be it the Final Frontier of our Milky Way, the Last Frontier of the Great Land, or the frontiers of scientific knowledge, there you will also find dedicated men and women, taking risks to break trail for the rest of us. One of the new trails being blazed on the frontier of beer is the style known as White India Pale Ales. Galaxy White IPA represents a significant new landmark on that trail. With its use of fresh kumquats, Indian coriander, and black peppercorns, Galaxy pays homage to the early explorers, who sailed unknown seas in search of rare spices and exotic fruits. Captain Cook travelled from Australia to Alaska, and so have the Galaxy hops used to create this adventurous brew. Just as a true explorer never stands still, the presence of brettanomyces guarantees that Galaxy White IPA will keep evolving in the bottle for years to come. So take a step from the known into the unknown. Cross the frontier from the commonplace into the extraordinary. Be the first to gaze upon an undiscovered country and return to tell the tale to those timid souls you left behind. After all, there's an entire Galaxy waiting to be explored… ABV: 7% IBU: 50
By bensbrew | Published: January 14, 2012
Beer made by female members of OPA Aalst (local branch of Zythos vzw) and now released for mothers’ day. The "Speciale Belge" beer style was created in 1904 for a brewing contest that was organized by the Universities of Belgium. The goal was to improve the quality of Belgian beer. The winner was a new style, called "Belge". Due to the success in the contest, a number of brewers decided to brew the style and called it "Speciale Belge". A "Speciale Belge" is pale amber in color (slighly darker than a pilsner) as brewers tried to copy the color of pilsner in a top fermenting ale. Later the color became darker as pilsners became very common to prove that the style is something special. After the second world war, when the quality of life in Belgium increased, several brewers created a "Speciale Belge" with a higher alcohol content, called a "Dubbel Special Belge". The beer has a big body, high effervescence, and a deep caramel flavor. There's a slight amount of yeast based sourness that creeps in to offer balance, with a flavor that reminds of dates or caramel covered apple. Today the "Dubbel Speciale Belge" no longer exists, the current higher gravity beer styles are trappist, abbey ales and so on. Therefore Brouwerij de Glazen Toren decided to recreate this special beer style.
By natpatch | Published: November 16, 2011
Many thanks to Firestone Walker and 2011 Brewer of the Year Matt Brynildson for an amazing Beer Dinner. Featured beers from the event included three 2011 GABF gold medal winners, a silver medal winner, a 2010 gold medal winner, an aged 13% stout, and the latest anniversary beer: XV. A PDF of the full menu can be viewed HERE.
By natpatch | Published: November 30, 2010
In case you missed it, The Monk’s Kettle now offers a rare List of Vintage beers. We have unveiled a menu of beers that have been aging in our climate controlled beer cellar, most since our opening in December of 2007. This list will change over time and grow, as beers peak for consumption, and the seasons change. We now offer some of these bottles to you.
To see what's on the List click HERE