New World Ordering

As a beer fan I found the story about the Cistercian monks rekindling the centuries old monastic skill of brewing Trappist beer, in Leicestershire, fascinating. Actually, I found the fact that there were Cistercian monks living a traditional monastic life in the East Midlands fascinating; the fact that they were brewing was a bonus.

That in itself, the fact that there are people living such a life in the heart of England in 2018, is an interesting enough tale. That they have been living and working there since 1835, presumably with some changes in personnel over time, is something I just didn’t know personally and is surely definitive proof that we live in a country so rich in history that much of it passes us by.

We are able to go and visit Mount Saint Bernard Abbey should the desire take us and they seem like an industrious community so there’s a bit to see and do. There’s lots of information online and the life that is lived there is captivating enough to warrant a whole feature but that’s not really our interest here.

Our interest is the beer, and once I realised that there was a Trappist beer being brewed in the UK I wanted to try some. Trouble is, it’s relatively new and not widely available in the usual retail outlets. So what to do?

Waiting for it to turn up in Bargain Booze didn’t seem like much of an option so I did what most of us do now; I Googled it. Google failed to find me a local supplier but did offer up the opportunity to order online which is something that had never occurred to me.

There seem to be three main players in the online beer world:

Honest Brew at www.honestbrew.co.uk 

Beerwulf at www.beerwulf.com 

Beer Hawk at www.beerhawk.co.uk

Beerwulf didn’t have the product so for no particular reason I settled on Beer Hawk. I’ve never bought beer online and am a born sceptic so am very reluctant to give websites I’ve never met before payment details. I had no notion of how reliable, ethical or punctual they might be so considered it a bit of a gamble. It was only a twenty quid gamble though so I thought it worth the punt.

So, Wednesday evening and twenty quid lighter sceptical me put thoughts of Trappist beer away for the moment but that didn’t last long. Friday afternoon the parcel arrived in my post box and Friday evening saw the beer nicely chilled in my fridge.

The beer itself? Well, I’m not much of a beer reviewer myself – I find that subtle flavours elude me – so I can’t tell you if there are any complex layers or notes of anything going on. The Cistercians can though, and this is what they have to say on the subject:

“Tynt Meadow is mahogany-coloured, with a subtle, warm red hue, and a lasting beige head. Its aroma carries hints of dark chocolate, liquorice, and rich fruit flavours. The beer is full-bodied, gently balancing the taste of dark chocolate, pepper, and fig. It leaves a warm and dry finish on the palate.”

Me? I enjoyed it, it tasted like a cross between a stout and a mild to me with a serious bit of 7.4%  kick-ass mixed in; a perfect antidote to my seriously hot curry.

The beer delivered brilliantly – it’s a cracker – and I was pleased to have made the effort to get my hands on some. Beer Hawk had delivered as well, in their promised forty eight hours, and turned me into an online beer buying fan at the same time. From sceptic to believer in one quick transaction; surely St. Benedict would approve of that?

“Idleness is the enemy of the soul” St. Benedict – 6th Century Monk