Spencer Trappist Ale

This is the last of the Spencer beers for awhile. Let’s see how it was.

ABV: 6.5%

Style: Belgian Pale Ale

Trivia: According to wikipedia.com, “Spencer was first settled in 1717 by Nathaniel Wood, and first permanently settled by Samuel Bemis in 1721. Spencer is located in central Worcester County, twenty minutes west of Worcester via Route 9, and about forty-five east of Springfield via Routes 49, 20, and the Massachusetts Turnpike. It was officially incorporated on April 12, 1753, splitting from the town of Leicester. Spencer was named after the then-acting governor of Massachusetts, Spencer Phips. Spencer was the home of the Howe family of inventors, including Elias Howe, who perfected the lockstitch sewing machine. In 1784 Spencer was a major stopping place on the Old Boston Post Road’s stage route between Boston and Hartford, and on to New York. Passengers changed stages in Spencer, as one coach would come from Boston and connect with one coming north from Hartford. Each stagecoach would turn around and return whence it came. Travelers often stopped for the night at Jenk’s Tavern in Spencer, as did General Henry Knox, pushing his cannons through the streets of the town on his way to Boston from Ticonderoga, and George Washington in 1789. Spencer still has colonial-era milestone markers showing the route of the old post road. When the War of Independence broke out in 1775 it found Spencer ready to take part; fifty-six men under Captain Ebenezer Mason immediately set out to Boston. Many of these men later took part in the Battle of Bunker Hill. A total of 313 Spencer men are known to have served in the Civil War; thirty-two lost their lives in the service of their country.”

Random: Despite being a history buff, I never really got into the American Revolution. I should brush up on that.

This beer poured with a one finger, white head. It dissipated at a moderate pace and left some lacing on the glass. The body was a hazy yellow color with lots of carbonation visible. The nose had some banana along with some yeast and not much else. The taste was much of the same. It started with banana and went into yeast with a slight sweetness from the malt. It had a medium body with corresponding carbonation. The finish was quick and had some malt sweetness. Since this beer was a gift, I’m not sure how much it was. Either way, I really enjoyed it and would have it again.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

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Spencer Trappist India Pale Ale

I’ve taken to watching CNN in the morning if I’m off. Although I was a political science minor in college, I never watched a huge amount of news. Now, I listen to a bunch of political podcasts and check the news every day. I guess I’m really an adult now.

ABV: 7.2%

Style: American IPA

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “The Trappist order originated in the Cistercian monastery of La Trappe, France. Various Cistercian congregations existed for many years, and by 1664 the Abbot of La Trappe felt that the Cistercians were becoming too liberal. He introduced strict new rules in the abbey and the Strict Observance was born. Since this time, many of the rules have been relaxed. However, a fundamental tenet that monasteries should be self-supporting is still maintained by these groups. Monastery brewhouses, from different religious orders, have existed across Europe since the Middle Ages. From the very beginning, beer was brewed in French Cistercian monasteries following the Strict Observance. For example, the monastery of La Trappe in Soligny already had its own brewery in 1685. Breweries were later introduced in monasteries of other countries as the Trappist order spread from France into the rest of Europe. The Trappists, like many other religious orders, originally brewed beer to feed the community, in a perspective of self-sufficiency. Nowadays, Trappist breweries also brew beer to fund their works and charitable causes. Many of the Trappist monasteries and breweries were destroyed during the French Revolution and the World Wars. In the last 300 years, there were at least nine Trappist breweries in France, six in Belgium, two in the Netherlands, one in Germany, one in Austria, one in Bosnia and possibly other countries. As of June 2018, twelve Trappist breweries are active—six in Belgium, two in the Netherlands, and one each in Austria, Italy, England and the United States.”

Random: This is another brewery on the list to visit.

This beer poured with a quarter finger of ecru colored head. It dissipated at a moderate pace and left some lacing on the glass. The body was slightly cloudy and amber-colored. The nose had a floral scent and not much else. The taste was bitter with grass and flowers and had a bready yeast characteristic. There wasn’t much else to this, which was disappointing. It had a lighter than expected body with generous carbonation. The finish was quick and unremarkable. This was another beer that was a gift, so no commentary on the price. Either way, it was a subpar beer and needed more flavor.

Untappd Rating: 2.5/5.0

Spencer Trappist Festive Lager

It’s been awhile since I had a Marzen, so let’s see how this was.

ABV: 7.5%

Style: Marzen/Oktoberfest

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Trappist communities observe the counsel of the Rule of St. Benedict, a 6th century guide for monastic life, that stresses the importance of ora et labora or ‘pray and work.’ Monks are encouraged to be self-supportive and offer charitable assistance to others by producing and selling goods to the public. The bell tower rising skyward above the abbey church is one of the defining architectural features of our Spencer Abbey. Simple, solid, striking, beautiful, the tower guides many a wayfarer to their spiritual home. The font used in our Spencer logo is derived from the calligraphy inscribed upon the limestone end panels of the high altar of the abbey church, which was created by Br. David Holly, a monk and artist of Spencer at the time of its foundation in 1950. Our brewery project is one of necessity. For over 60 years, we have cooked and packed jams and jellies at our monastery under the Trappist Preserves label. This business has allowed us to support ourselves, while providing wholesome monastic work and charitable assistance to the poorer communities and persons in need. However, when we look to the future, as our community grows and ages, we see our need for an additional enterprise that supports our community and charities in the years to come. In our community, each monk’s work is assigned after matching up community need and the individual’s interests and abilities. A few years ago, one of our brothers expressed interest in brewing and even did some training at a local craft brewery. Over time, his passion for brewing affected some other monks, who recognized that brewing was a very traditional monastic enterprise. Thus, when the time came to re-chart the economic path for the monastery’s future, the idea of a brewery gained traction. However, before we could come to a decision, we had to develop the brewery idea into a realistic plan. With the blessing of the abbot, we embarked upon a two-year data-gathering mission. We visited each Trappist brewery to learn everything we could from our European brothers. Beginning at the Abbey of Westmalle, we slowly made our way around Belgium, staying at the monasteries and making friends, receiving good advice and drinking some of the world’s best beer. The final stop of our first trip was the Abbey of Sint Sixtus, brewer of the acclaimed Westvleteren ales; by the end of our second trip and more detailed discussions, we were confident that we had put together a realistic plan for a new brewery. Following monastic tradition, the monks voted and confirmed the project by an overwhelming majority – we would build America’s first Trappist brewery. Observing Trappist tradition we have named the brewery, and the beer, Spencer after our beloved town of Spencer, MA.”

Random: My parents always bring me some beer from this brewery when they come back from Massachusetts.

This beer poured with a half a finger of ecru colored head. It dissipated quickly and left no lacing on the glass. The body was a clear, dark amber color with a lot of carbonation visible. The nose had very little that I could pick up, but was generally sweet and fruity. The taste had slightly more depth with sweet malts and a touch of bready yeast. The alcohol was well-hidden. It had a moderately thick body with just enough carbonation. The finish was quick and sweet. I received this as a gift, so I’m not sure how much it was. I thought this beer was alright, just needed a bit more flavor.

Untappd Rating: 3.0/5.0

Spencer Trappist Holiday Ale

I love the Fall. It’s my favorite season and I love pumpkin spiced things like coffee and pastries and I like when the weather starts getting cold.

ABV: 9%

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Trappist communities observe the counsel of the Rule of St. Benedict, a 6th century guide for monastic life, that stresses the importance of ora et labora or ‘pray and work.’ Monks are encouraged to be self-supportive and offer charitable assistance to others by producing and selling goods to the public. The bell tower rising skyward above the abbey church is one of the defining architectural features of our Spencer Abbey. Simple, solid, striking, beautiful, the tower guides many a wayfarer to their spiritual home. The font used in our Spencer logo is derived from the calligraphy inscribed upon the limestone end panels of the high altar of the abbey church, which was created by Br. David Holly, a monk and artist of Spencer at the time of its foundation in 1950. Our brewery project is one of necessity. For over 60 years, we have cooked and packed jams and jellies at our monastery under the Trappist Preserves label. This business has allowed us to support ourselves, while providing wholesome monastic work and charitable assistance to the poorer communities and persons in need. However, when we look to the future, as our community grows and ages, we see our need for an additional enterprise that supports our community and charities in the years to come. In our community, each monk’s work is assigned after matching up community need and the individual’s interests and abilities. A few years ago, one of our brothers expressed interest in brewing and even did some training at a local craft brewery. Over time, his passion for brewing affected some other monks, who recognized that brewing was a very traditional monastic enterprise. Thus, when the time came to re-chart the economic path for the monastery’s future, the idea of a brewery gained traction. However, before we could come to a decision, we had to develop the brewery idea into a realistic plan. With the blessing of the abbot, we embarked upon a two-year data-gathering mission. We visited each Trappist brewery to learn everything we could from our European brothers. Beginning at the Abbey of Westmalle, we slowly made our way around Belgium, staying at the monasteries and making friends, receiving good advice and drinking some of the world’s best beer. The final stop of our first trip was the Abbey of Sint Sixtus, brewer of the acclaimed Westvleteren ales; by the end of our second trip and more detailed discussions, we were confident that we had put together a realistic plan for a new brewery. Following monastic tradition, the monks voted and confirmed the project by an overwhelming majority – we would build America’s first Trappist brewery. Observing Trappist tradition we have named the brewery, and the beer, Spencer after our beloved town of Spencer, MA.”

Random: This is my first beer from Spencer.

The beer poured with four fingers of tan-colored head. It dissipated slowly, but left a lot of lacing on the glass. The body was a dark amber color that had some floaties in it, but was relatively clear. There was a lot of visible carbonation. The nose was filled with spice. Specifically, I picked up nutmeg, allspice and cinnamon. Cloves and molasses came through next. The taste was also very spicy. The same spices from the nose came through along with lots of booze and some dark fruit, specifically dates, raisins and figs. The body was on the thicker side, but had a lot of booze and carbonation. It had a sticky and lengthy finish with spice. This was another beer that was a gift, so I have no clue how much it is. I enjoyed this beer and I think it would pair well with holiday desserts. Definitely give this one a try.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0