Beer History: Trappist

trappistIn today’s craft beer market, trappist beer is still considered to be one of the greatest and most sought-after styles. Yes, IPA’s are flooding the market and hop growers are at an all-time high in production, but you can get an IPA pretty much anywhere nowadays. Trappist beers? Not so much, hence why they are still so sought after. But what makes them so good and how did they start?

True trappist beers are produced in monasteries by Trappist monks. Before they became Trappist monks, they were called Cistercian monks. Cistercian monks had to abide by a very strict law that basically said that the monastery had to be completely self-sufficient and that everything they did had to done by their own hands. Nothing was to be bought. Everything was to be grown and used up. Any additional materials left over were to be donated. These monks started off making various styles of cheeses, jams, and breads. They were looking for a way to increase funds to help with the growth of the monastery and decided to brew beer. Why? Because it was easy to make and they had what they needed to brew it. The rest is history.

monkMost trappist breweries are found in the monasteries of Belgium. There are a few other places that brew trappist beer, but the true ones come from over the pond. What make them so sought after is that many of these monasteries don’t export their beer. They actually keep it within the region they brew them in.

Some of the major names in the trappist industry are Chimay, La Trappe, St. Bernardus, Rochefort, Orval, and Westvleteren. You can find all but Westvleteren at pretty much any grocery store or bottle shop today. Westvleteren is much harder to get a hold of. Although there are a few websites that actually sell Westy, you need much deeper pockets to get yourself a few. Not only are the beers more expensive, but the shipping is usually high as well. A few years back, voted Westvleteren 12 the best beer in the world. When this came out, the roads were jammed to the monastery in the hopes to get a hold of a bottle of it.

If you’re looking for a change of pace in the beer market, look nowhere else. Trappist beer has an abundance of notes, ranging from fig to raisin to banana. Some are lightly carbonated, while others come off as more of a champagne (Orval especially). They are definitely unique and worth trying. One taste and you will understand as to why they are so popular in the craft world.

Until next time….

The Hopostles

Milwaukee’s Best Ice by Miller Brewing Company

As Macro March rolls on, we come to a bright spot on the beer calendar that every American looks forward to, despite the fact that many have no actual cultural link to it: St. Patrick’s Day. In order to celebrate accordingly, we should be hoisting a pint of Guinness, the beer that 9/10 leprechauns world-wide recommend. But instead, we’re sticking to what we started this month with, namely bad gas station beers. Here we go with Miller Brewing Company’s Milwaukee’s Best Ice, a beer that actually takes a back seat to the green food coloring we believed would improve its taste…

One man’s trash…

Have you ever consumed a beer at a location that was so unique that it’s hard to think of one without the other every time you see it?  We have, and here’s the story about it…


Let’s consider just how crucial location is for a bit.  In the pantheon of great places to have a beer, most avid craft beer drinkers could probably name a bucket list of locations that says a lot about their personal interests in life from a much broader perspective. Take a person who loves to travel for instance–can you imagine being able to say that you consumed a beer atop the Great Wall of China?  Or at the top of the Empire State Building?  Or consider someone who’s the adventurous type–aside from the unforgettable experience of summiting a great mountain like Everest, can you imagine cracking a cold one at the top of the world to celebrate?  Take the guy who loves to visit breweries–is it possible to find a cooler place to sip a creamy Guinness Draught than at the actual brewery in Ireland itself?  Or what about for golf fanatics like ourselves? We’d love nothing more than feeling cold beer barreling down our throats while we stand on the Hogan Bridge at St. Andrews in Scotland, the home of golf.  The lists could go on and on, and for each new person you talk to, you’d see a new list remaining unconquered, a quest that from time to time gets fulfilled in very small increments when the timing is just right.

A couple of years ago, we were on our way to Pennsylvania with my brother Justin to play in a golf tournament that our mutual friend Tim had invited us to.  Zack and I met up with Justin in Akron on our way, and what turned out to be a quick stop for a few beers turned into a meeting of sorts.  You see, another mutual friend of ours had a brother that we were all friends with on our untappd account.  He had quite the resume of beers under his belt, and always seemed to get ahold of the ones that we couldn’t get living just an hour south of him.

WaldosOne particular beer, Waldo’s Special Ale by Lagunitas Brewing Company, had escaped our grasp for yet another year, but after a message from this fellow we had never met, we learned that he had an extra to share with us.  Delighted to finally get to try it, we met up with him to pick it up.  Little did we know, his job as a manager at the nearby pizza place had its share of perks, one of which was storing your beer that you haven’t taken home yet in the company’s fridge.  And because it was cold at the moment and we had a road trip ahead of us, we waited no further than the very parking lot at which he worked to slam it quick and be on our way.  The dumpster next to where we consumed it has been forever etched in our memories as something we associate with Waldo’s Special Ale, a beer that’s anything but garbage.  We had a good laugh about it then, and still do now when the subject is brought up.

So the next time you share a brew with your buddies or even just by yourself, take a good look around you.  Be it a mountain top, a tropical place, a historical landmark, or even just the nearest dumpster–it’s all about location.  And if your surroundings are as ridiculous as ours were, be prepared to have a memory for years to come…

the Hopostles

Nanny State by BrewDog

Alcohol isn’t required in order for a beer to be considered a beer. Is it a nice byproduct? Sure. Does it occur naturally in the brewing process given the right ingredients? Yep. Do moderate amounts of it have proven health benefits? Yes. Can we remember the last time we had a beer that didn’t contain it? No, not really. So why try Nanny State by BrewDog now, you may ask? Well, special occasions require a break from the ordinary…

Rogue Ales

Rogue LogoAddress: 2320 SE Marine Science Dr.
Newport, OR 97365

Phone: (541) 867-3660


Flagship Beers: Dead Guy Ale, Mocha Porter, Double Chocolate Stout, Cold Brew IPA, American Amber Ale, Honey Kolsch, Brutal IPA, Shakespeare Oatmeal Stout, Hop Series

Seasonal Beers: Pumpkin Patch Ale, Santa’s Private Reserve

Special Releases: Sriracha Stout, XS Imperial Stout

The Down Low: In operation since 1988 and still going strong in the craft brew industry, Rogue brewery knows beer like the back of your hand reaching for their latest offering in stores.  And in the case of Rogue, it doesn’t matter which store in the United States you’re in, because they can be found in all 50 states.  And that’s just the beginning…

rogue beersThey’re headquartered in Newport, OR, but they have 10 other locations that can be found throughout Oregon, Washington, and California.  Their motto has been “Dare * Risk * Dream” for some time now, and it’s emblazoned on all their products as a reminder to their patrons and customers that when it comes to being an innovator, they’re not afraid to try some crazy stuff.  For instance, who would’ve thought that a sriracha stout could be possible?  Being the bona fide spice fanatics that we are, it was a must-try from the moment we set eyes on the iconic red bottle with the green cap.  Or how about making a beer using yeast from the brewmaster’s beard?  It’s a crazy, gross, and unusual idea all wrapped up into one, but we didn’t pass up the opportunity to try that one either.  After all, everything is worth a try once.

DGA WhiskeySo how does a brewery keep up with a 50-state demand for distribution, not to mention 54 countries worldwide?  In the case of Rogue, it comes in the way of owning their own farms.  Growing their own ingredients for use in their beers expanded their horizons exponentially, and in addition to making beer, Rogue also operates a distillery as well.  Their most beloved flagship beer, Dead Guy Ale, has been turned into a whiskey, using the barrels from the beer production to house the whiskey that’s made.  It’s just another way that Rogue stays on top of their game, not only in the cutthroat craft industry, but in the Mecca of beer states that only Oregon folks can brag about.

Keep an eye out for Rogue beers near you the next time you’re out and about.  They’ve been around for 30 years, and with a goal of daring to risk and dream, they’re likely gonna be for another 30 more…

the Hopostles

Icehouse Edge by Miller Brewing Co.

As the month of March descends upon us, we somehow thought that the idea of “Macro March” sounded like a cool endeavor. You know–a shout out to all those macro beers that we craft beer drinkers still have from time to time, a dirty little secret that we only disclose to our closest friends. Well, this bad idea begins with Icehouse Edge, a trash beer that your nearest gas station laughs about every time some new sucker walks out their door with one in tow. That’s where we come in to play…

Spit that out!

spitWhen we were kids, we likely heard our parents yell that from time to time. Whether it was something bad for us, something that we weren’t allowed to have, or something that came from an unknown source, the words were shouted and immediate results were expected. Who would have ever thought that those words would be taken so literally one day to be used as a main ingredient for beer? Dogfish Head apparently did.

Read on to find out more about the beer that they actually produce with spit and corn, a disgusting thought that’s got our full attention and curiosity peaked…

Cael & Crede Ale by Carrig Brewing Co.

Some would argue that beer shouldn’t taste like fruit, while others (like us) love a great fruity brew, especially in the summer. Some would shun beers that taste smokey, while others (like us) think it enhances a nice, smoked meat. And some think that beer should only taste like beer, while others (like us) will try any beer flavor available at least once. But if there’s one thing all beer drinkers can agree on, it’s that beer shouldn’t taste like dog food. Finishing up our barrel-aged month with a gross rendition by Carrig Brewing opened up a conversation that we never could have expected….

Beer History: Pale Ale

snow-restaurant-mountains-sky.jpgPale Ales are considered to be the old timers in the craft beer industry. They were one of the very first styles created outside of standard lagers and ales. The history of pale ales reaches back some 300 years ago in England, but since there is so much history of the pale ale style, we will only touch on a few key points about it.

Back in the 1800’s, stouts and porters ruled the area since pale malts were expensive. Brewers in Burton-on-Trent, England were looking for a way to produce a more consistent, pale beer.  They created it using coke, which was a process where coal burned at a hot and steady temp, giving them a clearer, paler beer. Once malts started decreasing in price, pale ales started permeating the market, which eventually started pushing stouts and porters out of popularity.

SN Pale AleThe type of water seemed to be the area in brewing where brewers devoted most of their time. Since Burton’s water was considered the “flagship,” many brewers tried to duplicate the water type since it created such a clean flavor.  Pale ales were also called “bitter” to help differentiate between the sweeter or milder ales of those times.  It wasn’t until 1980 that Sierra Nevada out of Chico, CA crafted the first pale ale in America. With the use of American malts, this beer had a much crisper, hoppier flavor than that of the English pale ales.

If you’ve ever done a side by side comparison between an American Pale Ale and an English Pale Ale, you will notice a stark contrast in flavor and smoothness. English pale malts are more robust, which give their beer a smoother flavor, whereas American malts give off more of a crisp character. The hops also play a vital role in pale ales. English hops are earthier, while American hops usually give off more of a piney or citrus character. One really doesn’t have to be a beer connoisseur to notice the difference between the 2 styles.

We are definitely grateful for those men who took the time to craft what has become one of the best styles out there. Without the pale ale, where would IPA’s be today? Next time you are at the grocery store, pay your homage to the style by grabbing some Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. It’s still up there with the best of them, 38 years later….

the Hopostles

Rye on Rye by Boulevard Brewing Company

Barrel-aged beers always peak our interest. And though they’re usually bourbon barrels, current trends in the beer industry are calling for whiskey, scotch, rum, and even wine barrels to get the job done. But do they stack up? It all depends on whose taste buds are involved. Seeing as we’re the ones doing the judging this week with Boulevard’s Rye-on-Rye, it stands to reason to see if you agree with us…