While Texas has been getting many new brewery's crossing state lines to enter our fertile market, few have been more anticipated than one that is re-entering. After a multi-year absence, Belgian Trappist brewery Rochefort is back in Texas. Rochefort is a Benedictine monestary brewery in Namur, Belgium, and is one of the 7 Trappist breweries in the world. Rochefort makes 3 different beers, the 6, 8, and 10. Many folks think that these numbers correspond to the percent alcohol however that is incorrect. Instead these numbers corresponds to the Original gravity: 6 corresponds to 1.060, 8 to 1.080 and 10. 1.100. Originally these numbers were close to the percent alcohol, however that was no longer the case, and never the actual intent of the numbers.
When I first heard that Rochefort was back in Texas I went out and picked up two of the 3 available beers.
Rochefort 8: The beer weighs in at 9.2% abv and pours a copper reddish brown color with a thick dense head of taupe colored foam. Very malty nose with notes of candied sugar, caramel and fruit. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, dried figs, raisins and other dark fruits concentrated. Finishes dry. Notes of chocolate, spicey. There is an interesting flavor here, that took me some time to place. Its like burnt sugar, with some brown sugar notes and caramel as well. The best analogy I came up with is the burnt sugar crust on creme brulee. Its a chewy beer, notes of cherry as it warms, very effervescent. No alcohol notes. A great malt forward sipping beer.
Rochefort 10: This is the big brother beer weighing in at 11.3% and pours an almost black color with a thin taupe colored head that dissipates quickly leaving a thin film capping the beer itself. Very malty nose, fruit esters almost grapey. Thick chewy mouthfeel, figs, plums, tobacco, sweet rich. Red wine like quality. Raisins, chocolate, rich chewy malty goodness. I love the fruity tobacco notes of this beer. Its like sitting in a big comfy over stuffed leather chair smoking a pipe. Notes of cola as well as it warms. This is one amazing complex brew.
For those wanting to try Trappist beers and see what all the fuss is about you must seek out Rochefort.