And very alcoholic.
With a name like St Bernardus and the beers it makes characterised as abbey ales you’d think it’s a Trappist brewery, but not so.
This is a brewery with a tale to tell. St. Bernardus beers were originally brewed by the monks of the Catsberg Abbey Community in northern France, but after some early 20th century religious intolerance they relocated to the Refuge Notre Dame de St. Bernard in the village of Watou, a few kilometres across the border in Belgium.
Although the monks eventually moved back to France, brewing and cheese-making continued in Watou. Right up until the 1990s, St. Sixtus (as it was called then) was still describing itself as a producer of Trappistenbier, as were many other breweries who had none of the Trappist connections of the Watou brewery. The International Trappist Association was founded in 1997 to put a stop to such practices, and since St. Sixtus beer was no longer produced within the walls of a Trappist monastery it was unable to use the ITA logo on its labels and the name was changed to St. Bernardus.
This turn of events has done nothing to lessen the quality of the beers from this, one of Belgium’s best known breweries. Abt 12 (quadrupel), Prior 8 (dubbel), St. Bernardus Tripel and St. Bernardus Witbier are all world class.
Jim Hughes, Head Beer Nerd, Alamo South Lamar
“If I had all the money I’ve spent on drink… I’d spend it on drink.” ~ Sir Henry Rawlinson