Trappistes Rochefort 8

Minolta DSCWinter season always seems like the perfect time for Trappist Ales! And thanks to my having discovered a place that is well stocked in my more obscure favorites (Cook Street Liquor Store), I was able to procure a few bottles in preparation for a little sample pack!

To start, I’ve decided to go back to some old favorites that I have not resampled in years. While I’ve found no shortage of Chimay labels and even the occasional Orval here in BC, I’ve been hard pressed to find any of their closely-related kin. Trappistes Rochefort is one such brewery, a renowned operation run by the Abbey St-Remy in Rochefort, Belgium. This Abbey and the brewery date back to the High Middle Ages and continues to produce true Trappist Ale to this very day.

Today, it’s the Trappist 8, the breweries triple-fermented ale and the second in their series of three ales. Colloquially, this one is known as the “green cap” because of the color of the bottle cap, is a brown ale, and weighs in at a hefty 9.2% alc/vol. Of the three beers produced by the brewery, this one is the most renowned and fits in the middle between sugary-sweet and spicier end of the spectrum.

Appearance: Cloudy, orange-brown, good foam retention
Nose: Mild fruit and yeast, notes of plum, cherry, and raisins
Taste: Strong malts, slightly sweet, caramel, raisins and plums
Aftertaste: Mild spicey finish, very nice and smooth
Overall: 9.5/10

Of the three, this one has been my favorite over the years. Whereas the Rochefort 6 is milder and smoother and the 10 is the most fruity and sugary, this one holds a place of honor in the middle. Balancing smooth malts, fruit, yeast and just the right amount of spice, its all around pleasure to drink and well paired with appetizer plates consisting of cheese, bread, fruit and pate, or with desserts featuring chocolate and fruit compote. If you can get your hands on some, do so!

Comfort Perogies!

Yesterday, my wife and I sat down to a dinner of perogies for the first time in awhile. And they were scrum-diddly-umptious! And it reminded me of my commitment to share ideas for comfort food and the beers that accompany them! So please consider a plate of cheese and potato perogies, paired with a light lager or pilsner as my next recommendation.

Now I’m not one for making perogies from scratch, but I plan to soon enough. In the meantime, a bag of frozen will do. However, if you should happen to have a Polish or Ukrainian grocer in your neighborhood that offers you the hand-made option, get on it! In the meantime, all you have to worry about is garnish preparation. And that’s where things can get creative!

Williams’ not-so-hand-made Perogies:
Of course, its common knowledge that perogies can be prepared any number of ways. Personally, I like my mine well cooked on the outside, but still soft and supple enough to cut with a fork. After some trial and error, I’ve found the boil first, fry second method works best. The boiling ensures that the skin and innards are cooked through, and frying them with the garnish gives them a slightly crispy, smoky, salty flavor.

1 pack perogies
4 strips of bacon

1 yellow or white onion
1 bunch green onions
small amount of butter

Slice bacon strips and add them to the pan, adding chopped onions once enough fat is present to cook them in. Stir well to prevent sticking, add perogies once the onions are soft. Add butter, and then stir regularly to prevent from sticking. Add green onions last and continue to stir. Remove from heat once all perogies are a nice, golden brown, the onions are soft and a little browned themselves and the bacon is nice and crispy. Serve with plenty of sour cream and dill!

As I said earlier, the best pairing for this dish seems to be a nice lager or pilsner. Perogies have a multilayered flavor that ranges from the subtle (cheese, potatoes) to the strong and zesty (onions, dill, sour cream and bacon). As a result, I feel a light beer that will not overwhelm the palate or compete with the flavor would be best. For this, I would highly recommend Hoyne’s Hoyner Pilsner or Creemore’s Premium Lager or Cameron’s Lager.

I say Hoyne’s first because it just happened to be what I was drinking at the time. And it was a per-diddly-erfect accompaniment!