Rare Beer Club 2-Bottle Selections - June 2019

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Monk's Reserve Ale

The Spencer Brewery — Spencer, Massachusetts

[Trappist Quadrupel - 10.2% ABV]

Monk's AleFor over six decades the Trappist brothers of St. Joseph's Abbey in Spencer, MA have produced jams & jellies for sale to the public to support the monastery as well as their charitable assistance to the disadvantaged. In recent years, several monks began to share an interest in brewing. For two years they gathered info and took multiple trips to visit existing Trappist breweries. Starting with Westmalle and finishing at Sint Sixtus (Westvleteren), the brothers toured around Belgium learning all that they could from their fellow monks-the producers of some of the greatest beers in the world. In 2013, they opened America's first Trappist brewery. This month we're very happy to have had the opportunity to work with them to bring you their exceptional Monk's Reserve Ale: a full-bodied Trappist quad that's one of the best examples of this style we've found.

This beer has seen very limited distribution so far, with fewer than 100 cases sold in the U.S. this past year, most of which was sold in Massachusetts. This quad offers a deep, cola-brown color, and the foam feels Belgian in execution: creamy textured, with tiny bubbles, firm retention, and lacing that coats the interior of the glass. The aromatics are packed with dried dark fruits and some subtle berry character, along with warming medium malt notes that range from caramel and toffee to cola and fresh bread. From the first sip, there are layers of rich core malts accentuated by a nicely handled Belgian yeast character. Any sweetness has been tempered well by the fermentation, removing any stickier maltiness and providing enlivening carbonation alongside bittering elements of pepper and soft clove. The alcohol stays nicely tucked away and manifests more as a rounded, vinous fruitiness. With time to warm, this quad gradually shows its full breadth of character: incredibly dense maltiness that gets into plum and currant territory, fresh-baked spice bread, and a decadent maltiness that keeps on going.

Hand Selected Lambic

Lambickx Private Domain Zenne Valley, Belgium

[Blended Lambic - 5.75%-6.5% ABV]


The Lambickx brand is owned by our importing partners over at Total Beverage Solution, and the Pajottenland lambic barrels that go into each particular blend are selected and tasted by a team led by Roger Mussche, based upon the diversity, complexity, and wild nature of the lambics. The approach to these Lambickx blends came from Mussche and renowned Belgian beer importer Don Feinberg, co-founder of Brewery Ommegang. Time and again we've been impressed with how the creators of this series take a diverse set of lambic barrels and make something that feels just effortlessly smooth and expansive.

The vast majority of our Lambickx this month is the 2016 bottling, which was limited to 1,866 bottles. In addition to the 2016 bottling, we'll also be pulling from the few remaining 2015 bottles to make sure that we'll have sufficient lambic for all of our Rare Beer Club members. These Lambickx releases saw a minimal presence in the U.S. last year (only 3.5 cases of the 2015, and one case of the 2016). We were grateful to be able to get enough of this for the Rare Beer Club, as it truly is one of the most mouthwatering and finely tuned lambic offerings we've encountered in a long while.

In the glass it's radiant-honey-golden and sparkling with a creamy, fine-bubbled white head. Aromatics include vibrant core citrus notes of sweet pomelos and lemons and all sorts of accompanying tartness, plus huge secondary complexity via fresh-cut apple and pear plus its non-fruity elements and oak-barrel aging: hints of vanilla and almond and toasted barrel. On the palate: juicy tart lemon and grapefruit, a toasty counterpoint of oak and white pepper, and a little salinity and funk combine for what's ultimately bracing but undeniable refreshment sip after sip. A just-fizzy-enough dose of CO2 provides lift for all of the different elements here.

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