Spencer Brewery - Spencer India Pale Ale
- ABV: 7.5%
- Int’l Bittering Units (IBUs): 68
- Serving Temperature: 45-50° F
- Suggested Glassware: Tulip, Snifter, Pint Glass
- Malts: 2-Row Pilsen, Carapils, Acidulated
- Hops: Perle, Cascade, Apollo
Behold the world's first Trappist IPA! Not content to only brew traditional abbey ale and European styles, the brothers at Spencer have decided to indulge our American palates with a bold IPA, and we think the world is a better place for it. Bright golden in the glass with a very long-lasting cap of fluffy and well-lacing foam, this IPA looks great as it offers up its big, hoppy aroma profile. Look for prominent juicy citrus notes conjuring impressions of tangerine and orange, along with touches of pineapple-like tropical fruit, soft floral overtones, and hints of pine or spruce. The theme continues in the flavor, which we found quite fruity indeed. Plenty of pils malts create a strong backbone for the big hop notes. The brewers summed up their approach to hopping and dry-hopping this brew by stating the hops "should animate rather than displace the flavor profile of the ale as a whole." Well, it certainly is animated. The hop profile delivers citrus juice and zest, tropical fruit, pine, and a deeply resinous overall character, no doubt aided by the very dank and super high alpha acid Apollo hops. Bitterness is firm & bold, easily keeping this brew dry at the start, the middle, and especially the finish where the hop bitterness lingers long on the palate. Cheers!
For many of us lovers of craft beer, our first foray into the world of Belgium's amazing ales came after stumbling across one of the famous Belgian Trappist monastery beers produced by Chimay, Westmalle, Orval, Rochefort, Achel, or, less likely due to its virtual absence on these shores, Westvleteren. However, not all of the Trappist breweries are located in Belgium, and several new Trappist breweries have opened in various countries in recent years. There are now twelve certified Trappist breweries, all of which are located in Europe with the exception of this month's featured brewery, Spencer, which opened in Massachusetts in 2013. Being in the American craft beer market, Spencer has expanded their selections beyond traditional abbey beers, as evidenced by this month’s selection. A Trappist IPA? You bet!
So what is a "Trappist" anyway? "Trappist" is the common term for the monasteries of the Cistercian Order of the Strict Observance, of which there are a total of twenty in the world. The monks live according to the Rule of St. Benedict, which dates to the 6th century and emphasizes both prayer and work. As such, for 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. Several years ago, one of the monks took an interest in brewing and trained at a local brewery. Inspired by him, more monks began to share his interest in brewing – a tradition among monastic communities dating back to the Middle Ages. 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 they could from their fellow monks, the producers of some of the greatest beers in the world.
Upon completion of their travels and brewing education, the monks of St. Joseph's voted overwhelmingly to launch their own Trappist brewery – America's first! Following Trappist tradition, they named their brewery after the abbey's home of Spencer, MA. In addition to traditional abbey-style beers, the monks also produce styles not typically associated with Trappist breweries, including IPA, Imperial Stout, Pilsner, and the darker "Festive Lager". For more info, visit them at spencerbrewery.com and www.spencerabbey.org.
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