Brouwerij de Achelse Kluis - Trappist Achel Blond Extra
Serving Temperature:52° F
Suggested Glassware:Globe Snifter or Tulip Glass
The second half of the Special Offer features two outstanding beers from Brouwerij de Achelse Kluis. Saint Benedict Abbey of Hamot-Achel was originally established as a priory in 1846 and became an abbey in 1871. The Trappist monks of the abbey, a subset of the Benedictine order, set themselves a lifestyle of strict observance, limited to work and prayer, only doing what was required to keep themselves and their pastoral work alive. Trappist brewers were an even smaller subset, producing beer in line within the requirements of the International Trappist Association. These monks thrived at the abbey until just a few years ago, when, in January 2021, the last remaining monk left, moving to another famous Trappist brewery, the Abbey at Westmalle. Beer production at Achel continued under at the supervision of monks from Westmalle, but without the official International Trappist Association label. In January 2023 the Achel Abbey was sold to Belgian entrepreneur Jan Tormans, thus putting an end to official Trappist beer production there, at least for now.
We were able to secure a few cases each of the Blonde Extra and Bruin Extra which were produced under the supervision of a Westmalle monk before the takeover in January 2023. These highly sought after beers will go fast so make sure to stock up!
The Trappist Achel Blond Extra filled our glasses with a bright golden elixir capped with a pillowy off-white head. The head lingered on as we sipped and left behind a fine thread of lacing. As we leaned in, our olfactory senses perked up with alluring aromas of pear, banana, bubblegum, and cotton candy. The aromas intensified with a swirl or two and brought forth notes of white pepper, hints of coriander, flecks of clove, and a touch of fennel. Trusting our noses, we explored even further and were rewarded to discover honeyed malt, gentle herbs, candied citrus peel, and bright hop expressions. No doubt we were in for a treat.
Upon the first sip our palates confirmed the aromas as flavors which were well layered and distinct from one another. The flavors of pear and banana were ripe and fleshy and further enhanced by the subtlety of bubblegum and cotton candy. Fine layers of candied orange peel lingered on as the hop flavors intensified and added bitterness. The hops also brought forth a hint of herbs complemented by white pepper, coriander, clove, and fennel. The sweet spices supported the toasty malt which also brought out flavors of honey and citrus blossom. This full-bodied Blonde exhibited a round luxurious mouthfeel with a creamy mousse and a long, drawn-out finish that left us craving more after each sip. At 9.5% ABV this beer never tasted or felt boozy, even if it warmed up a bit in our glasses. Quite the contrary, as it warmed it became easier to drink with the flavors and aromas being accentuated rather than overwhelmed by alcohol. Truly remarkable.
The Trappist Achel Blond Extra drinks incredibly well now but is also built to last. We see an easy 3-5 years of cellaring, perhaps even longer due to the 9.5% ABV. Paired with seared day-boat scallops topped with a light lemon and honey glaze would be a fine way to enjoy this beer.
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