Many of you know the 7 traditional Trappist breweries, Chimay, Rochefort, Orval, Achel, Westmalle, Koningshoeven (La Trappe) and Westvleteren. But did you know that in 2012 a new Trappist beer was approved to be brewed under the International Trappist Association name? Engelszell began bottling their Gregorius in mid-2012, and I was finally able to get my hands on some a week or so ago.
Gregorius is a strong dark ale, and pours a dark brown with some slight ruby hue when held up to the light. Carbonation is light with just a little head on this one, which is in sharp contrast to something like St. Bernardus Abt 12 of the same style. The smell is bready with lots of dark fruit.
Upon first taste, it’s a bit boozy, which isn’t surprising as it weighs in at 9.7%. But the alcohol is not hidden. It’s followed by notes of dark fruit with a touch of chocolate. The finish isn’t as smooth as I’d prefer for the style, and the booziness has a lot to do with that.
I’d venture to say there are a lot of other beers of this style that I’d pick up ahead of this one. Rochefort 10, La Trappe Quad and Chimay Grand Reserve are better Trappist options not named Westvleteren 12. But St. Bernardus Abt 12, as well as Ommegang Three Philosophers and Unibroue Maudite are non-Trappist offerings that I like better.
But don’t just take my word for it. Try one for yourself.