Tag Archives: Lowlander

123. Maredsous Tripel

Let’s continue a rather productive visit to Lowlander by following the Paulaner Salvator with something slightly stronger.

This is the Maredsous Tripel, an Abbey Beer from Belgium. To clear up any confusion, it was formerly known as Maredsous 10, which is how it appears in The Book. I notice it’s not explicitly listed on the menu at Lowlander, but ask nicely and the staff may just be able to conjur one up.

Maredsous Tripel at Lowlander, London

This is a beer that resides very much in the same category as previous Belgian-style Tripels that we’ve seen, such as the La Trappe Tripel and perhaps the archetype for the style, the Westmalle Tripel.

By way of a recap, Tripels tend to be blonde in colour, but stronger and hoppier than a typical Belgian Blonde. They stand in contrast to the darker, fruitier Dubbel style, for example La Trappe Dubbel.

And so there are no surprises when the Maredsous pours a rich, deep yellow colour, with some light, white froth on top. It looks and smells almost honeyish.

All the expected Tripel flavours are there: subtle dried bananas, Belgian yeast and fragrant hops. At 10% ABV it’s a big old beer, and the alcohol heat isn’t hidden by any means. It’s balanced out by that honey sweetness, though, and the result is a very pleasant beer.

It improves as it warms, as butterscotch notes appear and the hop bitterness becomes more apparent, though that alcohol burn never really goes away.

I appear to have written “better than Westmalle” in my scribbled tasting notes. That’s a bold claim, and it’s one I’ll have to selflessly research rigorously before committing myself to it fully.

Facts and Figures

Brewery: Abbaye de Maredsous, Denée, Belgium
Style: Abbey Beers
Strength: 10.0% ABV
Found at: Lowlander Grand Café, Drury Lane, London WC2B
Serving: 330ml bottle

122. Paulaner Salvator

Without doubt, Lowlander has been a valuable ally on this journey. I’ve found several beers there already, and we haven’t quite exhausted the impressive beer menu just yet.

While many of Lowlander’s beers tend to be Belgian or Dutch, this one from Munich in Germany has recently appeared on the menu. It’s a Bock, and while I still don’t fully understand what that is, I know it’s technically a lager, though nothing at all like the usual pale Eurofizz.

Paulaner Salvator at Lowlander, London

Paulaner Salvator is in fact a Doppelbock, so it weighs in at a quite respectable 7.9% ABV. I’m told that it’s brewed with wheat, though it doesn’t appear particularly cloudy. Instead it’s a warm, rich chestnut colour with the slightest trace of caramel froth on top.

It’s lovely stuff, being smooth and deep with unctuous toffee and butterscotch flavours and sultana-like fruit. There are spicy notes too, similar to those found in a rye IPA.

The full body and richness remind you that the beer was originally brewed by Franciscan monks to sustain themselves through the period of Lent, and only later sold to the public to raise funds for the monastery.

For its fairly hefty alcohol payload, it’s surprisingly easy drinking and slips down a treat. All in all, Paulaner Salvator is a very pleasant change from the usual, and a beer I’m sure I’ll be enjoying again before long.

Facts and Figures

Brewery: Paulaner Brauerei, Munich, Germany
Style: Bocks
Strength: 7.9% ABV
Found at: Lowlander Grand Café, Drury Lane, London WC2B
Serving: 330ml bottle

101. Koningshoeven La Trappe Blond

It must be all of two weeks since we last visited Lowlander. It’s a pleasant evening for a stroll around the West End, so why not let’s drift back. We can tackle this week’s Beelzebub crossword and sample the third and final La Trappe beer that we need while we’re there.

Koningshoeven La Trappe Blond at Lowlander Grand Café

We’ve already seen the La Trappe Dubbel and also the Tripel. The Blond is actually the least strong of the three, at a mere 6.5% ABV.

It pours very much the expected golden colour with a small amount of dense, white foam, and there’s a remarkable amount of fizz to it.

This is technically a Dutch beer, but like the previous La Trappe offerings, it’s basically as Belgian as a beer can get, short of, you know, actually being Belgian. It smells and tastes every inch the typical Belgian blond: floral and honey notes, banana fruit and musty farmhouse yeast.

There’s a hint of vanilla and some spicy hops, and despite being a little gassy, it’s quite refreshing. Unfortunately it’s a disappointingly inoffensive beer. There’s none of the moreish, zingy saltiness of the last Trappist blond we tried, the famous Westvleteren, or the warming alcohols of the La Trappe Tripel.

There’s nothing to particularly dislike about this one, but on balance, it’s really a rather forgettable beer.

Facts and Figures

Brewery: Abdij Onze Lieve Vrouw van Koningshoeven, Berkel-Enschot, Netherlands
Style: Trappist Beers
Strength: 6.5% ABV
Found at: Lowlander Grand Café, Drury Lane, London WC2B
Serving: 330ml bottle

96. Koningshoeven La Trappe Tripel

I very much enjoy my all-too-infrequent visits to the splendid Lowlander on Drury Lane. To while away an afternoon being waited on by their charming and tirelessly efficient young staff, who unhesitatingly fetch you round after round of hopelessly strong beers at the slightest invocation, is one of London’s great pleasures.

You’ll remember that we previously enjoyed that rather special Rodenbach Grand Cru there a little while ago, but we haven’t exhausted the intersection between Lowlander’s extensive beer menu and the 300 Beers Todo List by any means. Let’s beckon our serveuse over and order a bottle of La Trappe Tripel.

Koningshoeven La Trappe Tripel

As I mentioned when I covered La Trappe Dubbel a little while ago, the Trappist Abbey of Our Lady of Koningshoeven brewery is the only Trappist brewery in the Netherlands, and as such brews what may be regarded as quite typically Belgian beer styles.

The Tripel is no exception. Blonder, hoppier and a little stronger than the Dubbel at 8.0%, the La Trappe Tripel is absolutely typical of its style, the archetype for which is of course the Westmalle Tripel.

This is a remarkably similar beer. One whiff and I’m back in Brussels, as the Belgian yeast, subtle hops and that distinctive dried banana aroma flow freely forth. To taste, it’s fresh, zesty and astonishingly light for an eight percenter.

As it warms, peppery, spicy notes come through, and while I wouldn’t have identified it myself, it’s not entirely surprisingly to learn that the monks brew this one with a touch of coriander. It contributes a spicy heat and adds complexity, though the beer isn’t lacking in that already.

I’m becoming quite fond of this brewery, though I’d tend to lean towards their 10% ABV Quadrupel, a couple of which are quietly ageing in the Official 300 Beers Cellar (a cardboard box in the spare room). That one isn’t in The Book, but there is one more La Trappe beer to track down. Stay tuned.

Facts and Figures

Brewery: Abdij Onze Lieve Vrouw van Koningshoeven, Berkel-Enschot, Netherlands
Style: Trappist Beers
Strength: 8.0% ABV
Found at: Lowlander Grand Café, Drury Lane, London WC2B
Serving: 330ml bottle

87. Rodenbach Grand Cru

Since we’re in the West End, let’s pop into Lowlander, a super little specialist beer café on Drury Lane.

Threehundredbeers is a big fan of Lowlander: with friendly, efficient table service, a very impressive range of—typically, but not exclusively Belgian—beers, and a sophisticated yet relaxed atmosphere, it’s as close to being back in Brussels as one can get in London.

Of course, you’ll pay exactly twice as much for a given beer as you’d pay in, say, Poechenellekelder, but hey, this is London, and if you can find this range of beers cheaper elsewhere, well done you.

And this beer certainly is something a little out of the ordinary. Indeed, Rodenbach Grand Cru is in a chapter all of its own in The Book: it’s categorised as a Belgian Sour Red Beer, which describes it rather well—it is all four of those things—though the style is often known as Flanders Red.

Rodenbach Grand Cru

Rodenbach Grand Cru pours a lovely deep reddish brown colour, with a modest layer of tan foam sat nonchalantly on the top. The first sip is both sweet and sour in equal measure. Those flavours are followed by a smooth malty body full of tangy dried fruits, pepper and musty wild yeast.

If you concentrate, you can also detect the woody edge that results from the beer having spent the better part of two years ageing in oak barrels before bottling.

As someone whose experience of sour beers has been limited to things like Gueuzes from Cantillon, and The Kernel’s hugely refreshing London Sour, this one comes as quite a surprise. One doesn’t expect sourness from a beer of this colour, or as full-bodied as this.

And yet it works remarkably well: with a Gueuze it can sometimes be hard to taste anything beyond the sourness, but as a red beer, this is so well-balanced, with its malty sweetness complementing the sour beautifully.

Lowlander Grand Café

This is a deeply complex beer. There’s so much going on that the experience of drinking it is closer to enjoying a fine wine than to knocking back a pint or two of lager in your local. It’s even served in what appears to be an oversized wine glass.

Rodenbach Grand Cru really is special. It’s a fine beer, though as with other sours, I can’t imagine wanting to drink more than one or two in a session. That said, this is definitely one beer I’m glad that the blog has introduced me to, and one that I’ll be enjoying again as soon as I can.

Facts and Figures

Brewery: Brouwerij Rodenbach, Roeselare, Belgium
Style: Belgian Sour Red Beer
Strength: 6.0% ABV
Found at: Lowlander Grand Café, Drury Lane, London WC2B
Serving: 330ml Bottle