The best beers in the world come from Belgium. I (Nathan Kruback) say this with confidence knowing full well that great beer can be and is brewed all over the world. From this opinion, I invite you to sample what I believe to be one of the finest offerings from a country full of fine offerings.
The Cistercian sect of nuns and monks live all around the globe, but a select few monks call Belgium home. Among the six Trappist monasteries brewing beer in Belgium, the youngest and smallest is Achel, of which one shining example stands out.
Achel's Extra Bruin is magic in a bottle. Achieving a beguiling blend of cohesion and complexity, Extra's ingredients are shockingly simple. Combining only Pilsner and Chocolate Malt in the mash, a hearty dose of Belgian Candi Sugar added during the boil aids an aggressive fermentation and a higher alcohol content.
With one of the highest pressure contents available, Extra's carbonation is more similar to a Champagne's than most beers. This unique ability to scrub one's palate aids the pairing of rich creamy cheeses, exposing all available taste buds. Additionally, the consistent production of bubbles saturates your olfactory bulb with gobs of dark fruit rich phenolics.
Extra's flavor profile is exquisite to say the least. An apparent exposure of its very base ingredients is notable, with rustic grain husk and biscuit malt right up front. The high temperature reached during fermentation coaxes a dense concentration of fruit, with melon, plum and a faint Concord grape character all present. Beneath this guise, a gentle cocoa and coffee quality lurk far below.
With the production of this beer being so low, and the supply of Achel spotty at best, we recommend trying this hidden gem soon, as the weather turns cooler.