Take a Trip Downtown for a Belgian Abbey Double
A Double Abbey with a Lot of Personality
There are a lot of beers out there that just are. For instance, you walk into an establishment and order their amber, wheat, gold, or whatever flagship they have going on, and it just is. There’s nothing spectacular, but nothing detrimental. It’s true to its name but it’s nothing to write about.
This Abbey Ale is not one of them. This is a beer that has a personality. A beer that has character. A beer that makes you think, “Was that a fruity ester aroma with a hint of caramel?” Well, perhaps not that far, but caramel will definitely be on your mind since it’s mentioned on the menu in the description.
The Look and the Smell
This Abbey Ale clocks in at 8% ABV. Because it’s a bit higher it’s served in a 13 ounce glass, plus you feel a bit more sophisticated drinking from one instead of a pint glass. In case you didn’t catch the 13oz glass mentioned in the menu, that’s the first thing you will notice.
Second, it’s dark. Almost like a stout, but if you hold it up to the light it’s not quite like a stout or a porter. The deep amber brown can give you some indication of what is to come.
Taking a deep smell you will notice… just about nothing. Abbey ales aren’t designed to be hop-forward (or hop anything for that matter). Because of the distinctive lack of hop aroma you take another smell. And another. The trick is to pull your nose a little further away with each smell; this is one of those unique beers that when you get too close, you can’t smell anything. When you do catch the aroma it’s sweet, like prunes or raisins.
The Taste and the Feel
Abbey ales have a very distinct flavor to them. Turn them into a double (or Dubbel or for a German beer a Doppel) and the alcohol content goes up giving them an even more unique flavor. What you first get hit with is a very smooth, very malty flavor. Subsequent sips will help you pick out the raisin or prune flavors and the caramel-esque finish. About halfway through my beer I noticed that it tasted a lot like a doppelbock (the best “commercial” likeness is Bayern Brewing’s Bakken Bock; they tasted very similar).
The menu tells you of a “warm finish due to a higher ABV.” I didn’t notice a warmer finish, honestly 8% isn’t quite high enough to show off a lot of alcohol flavors. Due to the malts and yeasts used it does have a mouth-coating feel to it. It makes your mouth almost sticky (unlike an IPA which dries you out). That feel isn’t bad, but it makes it so that you don’t really want to have more than one or two of these delicious beers.
The Belgian Abbey Double is a great beer that goes well with a wide variety of food pairings. If you’re unsure about any beer, at just about any establishment, as the server for a tasting glass. Most won’t hesitate to tell you about the beer and let you sample it.