Musical Cheers: Westmalle Trappist Ale

Andrew Kruse-Ross

In the spirit of beer being the beverage of the everyday man (and woman), we present Musical Cheers, a column that puts real beer in the hands of real people. Musical Cheers is guest authored by a revolving selection of friends and columnists with tastes as varied as the beers they review.


Guest reviewer name/occupation: Andrew Kruse, writer, editor, squirrel whisperer, barrel rider, fill-in beer reviewer

Currently listening to: Faith No More “The Real Thing"

Currently reading: “The Joy of Living" by Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche

Preferred Blue Collar Brews: Corona, Modelo, Pacifico, Miller High Life, Guinness

Preferred White Collar Brews: Chimay Première Ale (red), Leffe (brown), Ayinger Celebrator, Kirin Ichiban


Name of beer reviewing: Westmalle Dubbel

Type of beer: Trappist Ale

ABV: 7 percent


Chimay will likely forever set the standard for me where Trappist beers are concerned, but I've yet to be disappointed with any of the less-than-a-dozen breweries that can call themselves Trappist (operated by Trappist monks); I have high hopes.

Free from the gimmicky — albeit sometimes fun — marketing of craft beers, Westmalle sits in an unassuming brown bottle at Ridgeview Liquor. Sporting a maroon label upon a somewhat squat brown bottle, I'd not be surprised to find a cork in place of the maroon cap.

Trappist brews often call for a specific chalice for serving (generally shown on the rear label). I'm using as glass that's as close to what's called for.

Upon pour, it's dark with shades of red-amber in the sun. A beige head rides the line between creamy and crisp. A malty nose is benefitted by letting this one warm up a bit. The label suggests serving at temperatures up to 55-degrees F (as if you'd serve this gem at the same temp as a Bud Light Lime).


It's what's inside that counts, isn't it? Lovely. Rich, yet medium-bodied and easily accessible. The taste is smooth but bitter in the good way with just a hint of sweetness. Dark fruit, rasins and malt — more so when a bit warmer but not as complex as Chimay. No hoppiness; a welcome departure from my recent selections.

Belgian beers often make me think they were what God had planned for us where beer is concerned. The monks would know best.

You'll like this beer if: you understand the best things in life cannot be rushed and enjoy riddles in the dark.

You'll dislike this beer if: you believe citrus flavors are general to the world's best beers or bear the white hand upon your armor.

Rating 1 – 10: 9/10

Real beer reviewed by real people …

More from Category

Stay up-to-date

Sign up for a monthly digest of everything new in GB.