BREWERY: Abbey Brewing Co.
LOCATION: Abiquiu, N.M.
ABV: 9.2 percent
RELEASE DATE: 2013
AVAILABLE IN: 750ml bottles
BEERS POURED: One
When first established in 2006, the Abbey Brewing Company of Abiquiu, N.M. operated the only monastic brewery in the United States on the grounds of the Monastery of Christ in the Desert. Although not certified1 as a Trappist brewery due to their production line being located outside of the monastery walls,2 Abbey Brewing’s line of Belgian-style brews includes what might be thought of as the Trappist trio. That is, they produce an enkel/single, a dubbel and a tripel, otherwise known in this case as Monks’ Ale, Monks’ Dubbel and Monks’ Tripel.
In 2013 the brewery introduced a handful of specialty draft products, among them being a pair of reserve ales brewed with hops grown on the grounds of the monastery. Released seasonally and in limited quantities depending on the availability of hops, they are called Monks’ Dubbel Reserve and the beer presented here, Monks’ Tripel Reserve.
Monks’ Tripel Reserve emerges lazily from the bottle, not being quite as effervescent as one might expect given the style. A moderate headstand forms, but it’s not terribly lasting, leaving one to wonder if the flip-top packaging has failed to keep external elements at bay. Hints of oxidation creep into the aroma as well, doing nothing to alleviate such concerns.
Beyond that, the beer is bready and fruity with prevalent alcohol and a hint of finishing spice. It has an almost vinous or cidery quality, though I’d lean more towards the latter given the apple flavor that seems to come to the fore. The palate is thick and subdued, kind of weighing down the experience overall, all of which leads to a rather unsatisfying ending which leads me to believe this beer is simply past its prime.