Feeling the hoppy notes and smooth, malty aftertaste of a cold beer is an unparalleled experience. But it’s not just the taste that makes drinking beer so pleasurable – the whole process of pouring the liquid into your favourite beer glass types and taking in the yellowish-golden hues of the beverage coupled with the fizzy foam creates a unique sensory experience.
Even if you’re not the most avid beer drinker, you’d still be able to tell the difference between various beers even if you can’t put a name to them. The subtle aromas and flavours are created by the unique combination of yeasts, hops, and malts used in each brewery’s batch. Among those distinguished brewing names, the flavourful St Bernardus beer collection has an excellent reputation and long-standing history to its name.
A Brief History of the St Bernardus Brewery
We can trace back its roots to the early 1900s when the Trappist Monks escaped Mont des Cats in France and ended up in Watou, a part of the Belgian city of Poperinge. The Monks settled on this land and began making their own brand of cheese and beer, which was far superior to anything else being made at the time.
In the 1930s, the Monks left the area, leaving their recipes and the brewery behind, which was eventually taken over by Evariste Deconinck. Deconinck maintained the same quality as before, and with his business acumen, consistently grew the dairy and craft beer-making business.
It wasn’t until 1992 that the brewery was given its current name, St Bernardus, to honour the Monks who founded the brewery. Slowly but surely, the various owners throughout the years have grown the St Bernardus brand into one of the most well-known and respected breweries in the world, with an admirable portfolio of beers.
The Most Popular Beers by St Bernardus Brewery
If you’re interested in exploring the St Bernardus beer collection, you’ll be quite pleased with the range of styles they have on offer. Some have fruitier and herbal notes, while others have a maltier and roasted character, but they’re all brewed using the same traditional methods.
St Bernardus Abt 12
This is a rich, ruby red-coloured ale with a light effervescence that results in an ivory-hued head. It’s a full-bodied ale with a sweet aroma of malt and raisins. The flavours include notes of dried fruits, chocolate, liquorice, and aniseed.
It has a somewhat bittersweet finish with a 10% ABV that’s enough to give you a slight buzz. It slides across the palate with a velvety smoothness, with a hint of caramel nuttiness that lingers on the tongue and a fruity sweetness that rounds out the taste.
St Bernardus Tripel
This beer is a well-balanced pale ale with an ABV of 8%. It pours out a pale straw-to-golden hue with a thick white head, and has aromas of citrus, floral hops, clove spice, and a hint of floral honey. It’s not as carbonated as some other tripels, and has a fluffy texture with notes of grainy bread, white fruit, yeast, and a pleasant bitterness that cuts through the sweetness.
On the palate, it’s malty with notes of caramel and honeyed sweetness that balance out the light hop bitterness. The aftertaste is slightly sweet and fruity, with a refreshing finish that makes it an easy-drinking beer.
St Bernardus Pater 6
This is a dark copper-coloured Belgian strong ale with an abbey-style flavour. On the nose, this beer has notes of spices like cinnamon and cloves, along with a hint of banana and dark fruit. The slight bitterness is balanced by the sweet caramel malts and a hint of smokiness.
On the palate, it has a velvety mouthfeel with a smooth sweetness that lingers on the tongue. The finish is a dry one, with notes of biscuit and cocoa powder. This beer has a solid ABV of 6.7% that doesn’t feel overpowering yet delivers a delightful kick.
St Bernardus Wit
Next up is a classic Belgian witbier that pours out a pale yellow colour and has plenty of spices, citrus, and yeast on the nose. It has a slightly sweet taste with notes of orange peel and coriander, as well as a slight tartness. The finish is slightly bitter, with a hint of banana and clove that all come together nicely.
At an ABV of 5.5%, this light-bodied beer is easy to drink and doesn’t have an overpowering taste. It’s refreshing and crisp, with a slightly sour finish and a delightfully smooth mouthfeel. It actually pairs well with a variety of dishes, including salads and seafood.
St Bernardus Prior 8
The Prior is a dark mahogany-coloured beer with an ABV of 8% that embodies the classic abbey-style beer. On the nose, you get hints of dark malts, raisins, and yeast that ever-so-slightly hint at the beer’s sweetness. Its fizzy carbonation helps to carry the flavours across your palate, and you’ll be met with notes of dark fruits, caramel malts, and a slight spiciness.
The finish is slightly bitter with a hint of cocoa, but it’s also well-balanced by the sweet malt and dark fruit flavours. This is a well-crafted beverage that you’ll want to savour sip after sip, as its smooth body and complex flavour profile will keep you coming back for more.
St Bernardus Magnum
Finally, the Magnum is a full-bodied and very strong beer with an ABV of 10%. It pours out a deep ruby-brown colour with aromas of toasted malt, dried fruit, and spices like liquorice and cinnamon. On the palate, it has a smooth texture with notes of caramel, toffee, and dark fruits that all come together into a sweet yet slightly bitter finish.
The body is extremely full and almost creamy, with an aftertaste that leaves a pleasant tingle on the tongue. This is a truly delicious and complex beer that has a compelling flavour profile with a respectable ABV that could give you a nice buzz.