Tap This: 6 beers to try this Valentine’s Day no matter who you’re with
When discussing craft beers in America we tend to drop impressive dates of some older breweries that opened in the late ’70s or early ’80s. These “older” breweries seem to have been on the landscape for quite some time. Some macro breweries even date back to the 1800s, but in the overall beer landscape, we are nothing but infants.
Many European breweries have existed for centuries and have been brewing beers that are still just as impressive today as they were hundreds of years ago. One such brewery is the Rochefort Brewery, or Brasserie de Rochefort, the Trappist brewers behind the Rochefort line of world class Belgian beers.
The brewery is located in Rochefort, Belgium, and has been brewing beer since 1595. That’s right, the brewery has been brewing incredible beers nearly two centuries before the United States existed as a country. The brewery is also one of only 11 breweries in the world that has the Trappist label, meaning the beer is brewed by monks.
The Rochefort Brewery is directly associated with the Rochefort Abbey which was founded around 1230. Monks began brewing beer as a means to fund the monastery. The brewery has continued to grow and has developed a worldwide following and has gained a status as a brewer of some of the best beers in the world.
This is even more impressive when considering the brewery’s full lineup consists of only three beers that are released worldwide. With many craft breweries continuously expanding their beer lineup, the Rochefort Brewery has stuck to what it does best and has beers good enough that just three will suffice.
So what are these three beers that have gained such a stellar reputation? They are known simply by number and a colored bottle cap. The beers are Rochefort 6 (red cap), Rochefort 8 (green cap), and Rochefort 10 (blue cap).
Rochefort 6: At 7.5 percent ABV this is the lowest ABV beer produced. This Belgian Dubbel has a deep red hue with an aroma that explodes with an array of fruit notes and sweet malts. A smooth, rich body that is the perfect vessel for the variety of flavors locked within this example of great Belgian beer. This is an easy drinking beer and seemingly has something for everyone. It is the most approachable of all the beers.
Rochefort 8: A Belgian dark ale with a 9.2 % ABV has a thicker body than Rochefort 6, but is still an easy drinking beer. This beer was originally brewed for New Years Eve celebrations, but eventually became a favorite. Notes of dark red fruits abound with hints of brown sugar, molasses, figs and caramel swirl together in a beer that has the perfect touch of sweetness. The higher ABV makes it a little more aggressive, but is still fairly approachable for all craft beer lovers.
Rochefort 10: This 11.3 % ABV Belgian Quadrupel is the big brother of the group. This is the richest and most complex beer. Toffee malts, sweet cherry, figs, brown sugar and spicy hops are the perfect balance of flavors. The ABV may be high, but there is no alcohol heat present and instead this beer drinks more like fine smooth whiskey, but with no alcohol bite. No self-respecting craft beer lover can miss trying this beer.
The Rochefort Brewery has a long storied history with world class beers. Its beers should be in constant rotation for all craft beer lovers. While they are readily available they should not be taken for granted, if you have not experienced the wonders of these beers there is no better time than right now to try them.
Derek Warren is a beer fanatic, avid homebrewer and beer historian. Derek can be heard weekly on the Beer Geeks Radio Hour at noon on Sundays on WILK 103.1 FM with past episodes available on iTunes.