Father’s Day is on the way, and anyone who has or is a father has license to celebrate. But choose caution when honoring dad on Sunday, because his collection of neckties and “#1 Dad” sweatshirts may already be overflowing. Rather than ship your favorite father another pair of socks, perhaps you could choose to take him out for an ice cold beer instead? If you do decide to share a pint with pop, maybe a beer made by the greatest fathers around will be the right answer?
In this case, the world’s best dads are the 2,100 Trappist Monks from the 171 Trappist Monasteries around the world. More specifically, our top pops are from the fellowship of friars who brew the unique beers in seven different abbeys located across Belgium and in the Netherlands. These brands: Achel, Westvleteren, Orval, Rochefort, Chimay, Westmalle, and La Trappe, are the holy grail of ale for the chosen drinkers. While they may not be easy to find, a pilgrimage to discover them is a quest worthy of those who seek flavor.
Of all the bars in Baltimore, one stands tall as the church of beer and the savior of flavor and that is Max’s Taphouse in Fells Point. With 140 rotating draught choices and nearly 1200 stocked varieties of bottled beer, Max’s is the place to seek beer enlightenment. Resident beer genius Casey hosts a Tuesday Beer Social each week, and everything from the rare to the exotic is sampled. Should you choose to find the inner monk trapped inside you (wow… the editor left that pun in there…), Max’s Taphouse is your monastery away from home.
One of the featured brews from the abbey is the Chimay Grand Reserve, a Belgian strong dark ale with a 9% ABV. Possessing a dark burnt amber color, this beer retains its foam longer after the pour is over. The white pillowy bubbles give way to an aroma of raisins, figs, cherry, apricots and caramelized vanilla sugar. The taste could be described as a fruit topped crème brulee, as similar notes burst through upon striking the palate. Despite a higher than usual alcohol content, the beer hides the heat well with a smooth finish.
Should you find the time to invite dad out or bring a bottle home, remember to say “thanks”. Whether your “dad” is a grandfather, an uncle, a family friend, or a mother who does it all- show them you care in any way you can. If your loved one has moved on, here’s a toast that the beer in heaven is even colder.
*This week’s column is dedicated to my father and father-in-law. Every drink we’ve shared is something I’ll always be grateful for. I hope I’m half as good of a father to my kids.