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Beer Advent Calendar Window Twelve - Rochefort 8

We reach the halfway point of this Beer Advent Calendar. I'm managing fairly successfully to keep up with the beer-a-day drinking and have only fallen one day behind on the posts themselves. This has been much more relaxed and better structured than previous years, that is for sure. 

However, Saturday 12th December was to see me out the door 45 minutes after waking up in the morning for a day in Huddersfield - knowing that I'd be returning long after midnight. Fitting in an Advent beer was going to be potentially a struggle. 

Luckily I was in the Grove, Huddersfield early afternoon and could hope that they would have at least one Christmas beer on sale. They did have one; unfortunately it was Brass Castle's Christmas Kitty on cask which has already featured in this calendar. I looked to the fridges instead. 

Here I spotted Trappistes Rochefort 8 and had an idea. When I asked Twitter in November for ideas of beers that aren't marketed as Christmas beers but are made for the season, such as the way Maredsous Brune 8 made it into the calendar, somebody told me that Rochefort 8 was initially brewed especially for New Year's Eve. Okay, so maybe not strictly Christmas, but I'm more than happy to include it as a festive beer. 

The Trappist brewery Rochefort at Abbey of Notre-Dame de Saint Rémy produces just three beers; the 6, 8 and 10 which are all reknowned in beer circles. Beer has been produced at the abbey since the 16th century, though Rochefort 8 was first brewed especially for New Year's Eve in 1955 but became a permanent just five years later. 

Whilst there was no way of telling whilst in the pub, to my delight they reckon this particular version will have at least two years of age to it. 

"Christmas snow can never disappear completely. It sometimes goes away for almost a year at a time and takes the form of spring and summer rain.  But you can bet your boots that when a good, jolly December wind kisses it, it will turn into Christmas snow all over again."

Trappistes Rochefort 8 - 9.2% 

This pours like Ron Burgundy's apartment; the looks and aroma are all leather bound books and rich mahogany. There's more musky, sherry soaked raisins, welcome butterscotch and earthy maltiness. The taste is like walking through the halls of Unseen University searching for the Octavo. There's a soil musk in the mouth, a leathery, dry taste and so much tradition in every mouthful. It's sweet and smoky; like a glass of port mixed with a rugged bourbon. It's a sipper and becomes more complex as it warms. Some sips are like stuffing fresh parsley in your mouth. Others are more peppery. Others feel like licking a cinnamon stick. All these tastes and emotions eventually settle into a fruity and boozy finish that's complex yet balanced. It's one to toast in a large library whilst pouring over an ancient tome. It's a beer of tradition, transcendence and tranquility. I gush, perhaps, but this is super. I onyl wish I hadn't been in a pub on a match day to enjoy this, so I could have noted all the other feelings I was having. 

Mince Pie Rating: N/A - no mince pies in the Grove I'm afraid, though the jerky is great. 

Best paired with: A Christmas evening in front of a roaring log cabin, a slab of blue cheese and choral choirs on the wireless 


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