#182 – St. Bernardus Prior

#182 - St. Bernardus Prior

Size: 330 ml

ABV: 8 %

I’m running out of superlatives and stories for the St. Bernardus beers – this is the fourth of my Odyssey, after the Abt (#46), Wit (#100), and Tripel (#106). I have talked a lot about the history of St. Bernardus, but not a great deal about the recent stuff.

It was 1992 when the brewery split asunder from St. Sixtus (#46) and was politely asked to drop the Trappist nomenclature. This transition had been managed by Guy and Bernadette Claus, the son-in-law and daughter of Evarist Deconinck. Both had both been in place for over thirty years since 1962, when Guy took over the brewing from Deconinck. It was only in 2003 that he retired as brewmaster at St. Bernardus, but both he and Bernadette continued to stay on and run the St. Bernardus guesthouse.

The ‘T Brouwershuis bed and breakfast has long been something of an institution in Belgium, and is often listed among the top places to stay in the country. It currently comprises twelve immaculate rooms which are set fairly uniquely within the grounds of the St. Bernardus brewery grounds. Bernadette was actually born in this rambling property, and for those that are lucky enough to stay here, it really does feel like a home away from home. The attraction for beer lovers is to spend time chatting with the family, in the midst of a famous brewery, and of course not to forget the cabinet stocked full of a wide range of St. Bernardus beers. The beauty also is that even non beer geeks will get something out of a visit here. The breakfast is apparently sumptuous, guests have a free run of the house, complete with full library and solarium, and the welcome from the owners is second to none.

Reading about the guesthouse has done enough to convince me. I have resolved to head over in the spring with Mrs Beershrimper for a couple of days pampering ourselves on fine beer and conversation, in front of the roaring fire. I will be more than happy to accept a St. Bernardus Prior on my arrival. This beer like all the others from the range is made with water that has been pumped from as deep as 150 metres underground. Scientists even claim that the water from the St. Bernardus well originated as rainfall from the time of Joan of Arc which has seeped through hundreds of years and layers of Watou rock from the St. Omer region of France. It gives you a warm glow reading things like this as you look deep into your beer. The beer as usual with St. Bernardus looked the part, thick and velvety, and it was a similar experience on the tastebuds, with plenty of malt and fruit.

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4 Comments

Filed under 8, Abbey Dubbel, St. Bernardus

4 responses to “#182 – St. Bernardus Prior

  1. Coincidentally, I just received a shipment of St. Bernardus beers. For awhile, I’ve been a huge fan of the Abt 12, but I’ve never made the effort to sample the others. I’m really looking forward to it. Thanks for the review! It adds to my excitement to delve more into this brewery!

  2. Have to agree…I’ve only had the 12 ( Abbot) in bars here, and likewise my local supermarket now stock that ( 1.89 EUR ) but yesterday I saw and bought this Prior for first time from an Independent offy, and it is really exceptional. Not as thick as the Abbot, and a bit different to the dubbels of Westmalle and Chimay, but very enjoyable. At 1.69 EUR a pop, it is great value.

  3. Gav

    Thanks Shrimper, that’s another thing I’ve had to add to my …before I die list. It sounds fantastic if the standards at the guest house match those of the brewery. I have one or two of the Priors in stock – not sure if they’ll survive long.

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