Sunderland isn't the first place that comes to mind when you think of Trappist ales but Darwin have brewed an absolute belter in Wearside Monk. This Trappist ale isn't Belgian, it's Mackem and it certainly gives some of those well known Belgian ales a run for their money.
St. Peter's Church, Sunderland founded in AD 674 was one of the two churches that formed part of the Wearmouth-Jarrow monastery, with St Paul's, Jarrow following in AD 681. Darwin Brewery had the Monkwearmouth monastery in mind when using Trappist yeast to brew Wearside Monk. The monks were sure to have been avid home brewers so it's a wonderful tribute to our fascinating local history.
It's a beautiful chestnut brown ale with a loose beige head that disappears rapidly leaving a patchy layer. There is a tiny bit of sediment in the bottle so I didn't pour it all into my glass in order to keep it lovely and clear.
Well it definitely smells like a Trappist beer with an aroma of sour tangy hops, malt, caramel and dark fruit. It smells very rich and warming, almost as if it's been brewed in bourbon or whisky casks.
The taste is awesome and so complex that it's hard to describe. I picked up hints of caramel, malt, dark fruit, tangy hops and even banana. It has a dry/bitter finish as well as a lingering warming alcohol effect. It has a medium body and it's perfectly carbonated to give a little fizz on the tongue without being at all harsh.
It's absolutely lovely and I'll be stocking up on more of these as soon as they're back in stock. What a unique Mackem Trappist ale! Ale Be Seeing You again!
Brewed by Darwin Brewery, Sunderland7% ABV
My Untappd score: 4.25/5