Long time reader Brian was good enough to deliver this to me after having driven west for the 1780 Challenge back in May. The beer is brewed by the monastic community at Spencer, Massachusetts. Fortunately, they are a fairly prudent bunch as their beer comes in at just 6.5%. Every time I read some git saying big bottles are for sharing I think of this strength of beer. Mine.
The burnished gold ale sits under fine lace leaving egg white foam. Shoving the nose deep into the glass, there are aromas of burlap, dry twiggy herbs with pear and banana. A bit of sheddiness but very pleasantly so. The monks suggest there is a light hop bitterness. They are fibbing. On its trip by the gums, there's plenty of bitter herb as well as a bit of menthol lingering at the end. More of the musty burlap. Underneath the pale malt is sweet and creamy but definitely playing a supporting role. A lightness shows up mid-mouth. There is a little smoke amongst the herbs making me think that this would go great with bacon and old cheddar. But, then again, so does life.There is even a wee bite that reminds me of those saisons which an edge from a bit of white pepper. Clove or very bitter orange maybe. I opened a bag of snapea crisps, the sort of snack monks may have sworn off. It works.
The BA bros rank it lower than the general BAer masses. I get their observation that "nothing really pops out to wow our palates" but I am not sure that's always the reasonable expectation. This is one of the best beers of its sort that I have had, the flavours articulately placed. But it is not a show off. Instead, it shows restraint and balance. It shows thought. Thank God for that.