Way back when I first started getting into beer I started a review blog, and one of my last big projects on it was a month of tasting all the Trappist beers. All of them. Well, as many as I could get my hands on – at least from each of the seven breweries.
Since then, there have been more additions to the Trappist family, but I came across one about a year ago that I’d never heard of.
Mont des Cats describes itself immediately under the name as “Biere Trappiste”, but it doesn’t bear the seal of an Authentic Trappist Product. So what’s the story?
It doesn’t take much research to find out that the Mont des Cats abbey is indeed a Trappist monastery and is famous for its cheese. Like many abbeys, there was a brewing facility on-site once upon a time, but currently there is no brewing equipment and no plans to build a brewery in the near future.
So the Mont des Cats beer is brewed at the Abbaye de Scourmont, better known as Chimay, just two hours away.
Once cracked open, the beer foams endlessly. A quarter of the bottle gone before I’d got a chance to pour it. The beer is as brown as the bottle it’s poured from. It’s a hefty 7.6% and smells of marzipan, dark fruits, sugar – like a wedding cake.
The flavour is remarkably mild for a beer this strong. None of the dark fruit notes jump out, it isn’t massively sweet, and it finishes smooth, clean and mellow.
It’s a remarkably quaffable beer, for a beer so strong. As it warms up it gets a little more caramelly and with a bit of a burnt bitterness. Still not heavy and can’t be described as rich in any way.
Overall it’s decent, but I’m not particularly impressed. It’s a pretty unadventurous and inoffensive interpretation of the Belgian style – the bare minimum and not a lot more.
Another one to chalk of my list of vanquished Trappist beers – though this one’s claim is tentative – but I won’t be seeking it out again. Not a scratch on its fully-fledged brothers.