Beer Week 2013: Round Two- Quad

by Philip R. Whigham

Weyerbacher Quad

Weyerbacher Quad- So what’s a Quad anyway? Quad, in this case is short for Quadrupel: a style of Belgian Abbey Ales. Some other popular Belgian Abbey styles are Blond, Dubbel, and Tripel. If you caught the pattern, you’ve already guessed the Quadrupel is the most potent variety of the styles. Most Quadrupels clock in around 10% A.B.V. and higher.

So what defines a Belgian Abbey Ale? To answer that question, we go to 17th century France and La Grande Trappe- a monastic enclave where pious monks and nuns received a special dispensation from the pope to form a strict sect known as Ordo Cisterciensis Strictioris Observantiae, or the Trappist monks. The brothers and sisters of the order live severe, austere lives in the name of holy purity. Thankfully for the rest of the world, a prohibition against drinking is NOT one of the many strictures placed upon the Trappists.

To support the order, the Trappist monasteries (like all monasteries) sell goods to the local towns and visitors. Eight of these abbeys (one in France, one in Austria, and six in Belgium) sell exquisite beer. This style of beer is widely replicated, but only beers from these eight abbeys can be called Trappist Ales. If they’re not Trappist, they’re called Belgian Style Abbey Ales.

Which brings us to Quad, brewed by Weyerbacher Brewery in Easton, PA (home of Crayola Crayons and zero Trappist monks, to my knowledge.) This bad boy weighs in at a whopping 11.8% A.B.V. I purchased my four-pack of 12 oz. bottles at Total Wine in Orlando, Florida. Sip this one slowly, or it will put you directly on your ass. Trust me on this one.

This is a big, bold beer with a heavy, malty nose that also carries ripe red grapes and a funky yeastyness.  The head is substantial; a two-finger thick, off-white froth which settles to generous lacing. The color is a clear, dark-reddish amber. The mouth feel is velvety and rich with little carbonation. The taste fulfills the nose’s promises, and you can also pick out currants, rum, cherry, and other dark, ripe fruit.

The ABC’s

Album- Bob Dylan- Desire- This is such a moody, atmospheric album. The dark complicated themes of Desire make a perfect companion for this richly textured and complex Quadrupel.

Beer- Weyerbacher Brewery Quad- This is one of the best Belgian Style Abbey Ales that does not bear the Trappist label.

Comic- Fables vol. 1- Legends in Exile- Bill Willingham spins a whimsical and beautiful story about fairy tale characters on the run from a horrible Adversary . These fantastic refugees hide amongst the “mundanes” of New York City. This is the first volume of a richly rewarding reading experience.