One of the greater things about watching football in America is that most matches, especially those of the EPL, are early in the morning American time, giving people an excuse to daydrink. This is part of our series discussing exactly what to drink when you’re at the pub, presented by our resident homebrewer, Keith.
The beer: Blasphemy Ale, Weyerbacher Brewery, Easton, PA
The pub: Bottle, given to the author by a friend
What you need to know: Belgian Monks, specifically those of the Trappist order, are one of the best groups of religious figures you could find. Sworn to an oath of self-sufficiency, so as to avoid the temptations of the outside world, the Trappist Monks, whose order was founded in the 1100s in Normandy and driven out of France into Belgium in the 1700s, developed a unique handful of styles of bottle-conditioned ales (that is, after the traditional fermentation, a pinch of yeast and additional fermentable sugar is added to each bottle to carbonate and “finish” the beer).
Among these styles is the Quadrupel, a strong (9-13 percent ABV), malty beer that is often brewed with fruit. It differs from its similarly malty cousin, the dubbel, in strength and boldness of flavor.
Weyerbacher Brewery is a small brewery in Eastern Pennsylvania known for its high-gravity beers, including its Quad, Blithering Idiot Barleywine, Old Heathen Stout, and Double Simcoe IPA. Blasphemy is a seasonal offering; it’s their Quad aged in Bourbon barrels.
So, About this Beer: The beer pours a dark amber with a pale head. Big, malty aromas with a twinge of smoke greet the nose; the initial flavors are malt caramel, finishing to a nice smoke flavor. Bitterness comes from the aforementioned smoke and the spiciness of the yeast, and not the hops (of which I’m sure this is limited). The beer has a fairly smooth mouthfeel, without a lot of carbonation.
The Verdict: Blasphemy is a sneaky, sneaky beer. Despite its high alcohol content (11.8 percent ABV), it drinks almost like a pale ale or a dubbel. The smoke from the bourbon barrels oddly does a nice job of masking the alcohol flavor. I do believe that, despite the name, the Trappists would be proud to have influenced such a beer. It’s certainly up there among the finest Quads, and one I’d recommend, either to numb the pain of a draw with Blackburn, or to savor as your team celebrates a cup win.