BREWVIEW ON BRUNEHAUT ST. MARTIN ABBEY BRUNE

BRASSERIE DE BRUNEHAUT ST. MARTIN ABBEY BRUNE  is one of four beers bearing the St. Martin name from the brewery. We had enjoyed their beers many years ago, and then the beers disappeared from the scene. Needless to say, we were very happy to find them on the shelves once again. We had remembered the Brunehaut beers being very flavorful in the past, so we thought we would give St. Martin Brune another try.

A TRUE ABBEY BEER

Referenced to the Abbey of St. Martin from 1096, the Brasserie de Brunehaut St. Martin beers are “Certified Belgian Abbey.” (See “Abbey” in Belgian Beer Styles) In 1999, the Union of Belgian Brewers introduced a “Certified Belgian Abbey Beer” (Erkend Belgisch Abdijbier) logo to indicate beers brewed under license to an existing or abandoned abbey, as opposed to other abbey-branded beers which the trade markets using other implied religious connections, such as a local saint. The requirements for registration under the logo include the monastery having control over certain aspects of the commercial operation, and a proportion of profits going to the abbey or to its designated charities.

HISTORY OF ST. MARTIN ABBEY- TOURNAI, BELGIUM

Tournai (French pronunciation: ​[tuʁnɛ], in Dutch Doornik, in Latin: Tornacum) is a Walloon city and municipality of Belgium located 53 miles west-southwest of Brussels, on the river Scheldt, in the province of Hainaut. Tournai is one of the oldest cities in Belgium with a 2000 year history. It was a place of minor importance in Roman times, a stopping place where the Roman road from Cologne on the Rhine to Boulogne on the coast crossed the river Scheldt.

In the 11th century, a cannon called Odon d’Orléans was unable to find a place for silent prayer and meditation. So he founded a new place to live and pray: St Martin’s Abbey.

In 1096, Bishop Radbot granted the monks of St Martin’s the right to brew, a valuable privilege granted by King Childeric.  During this time, the Great Plague ravaged unsuspecting people, and in time, it was discovered that beer was safer to drink than water. To promote public health and compensate for limited support from far-away Rome, Bishop Radbot’s brewing permissions helped to sustain the abbey. The brewery prospered well until 1793, when a majority of the abbey was destroyed in the French Revolution.

In 1797, any standing remains from the destruction of the French Revolution, were removed. (The Town Hall occupies part of the land where the abbey once stood. *The last remains of the abbey can be viewed in the basement of the current town hall.) *(Reference- Wonderful Wanderings)

HISTORY OF BRASSERIE DE BRUNEHAUT

In 1890, the original recipes were discovered and the brewery was brought back to life. The Allard family founded the Brunehaut brewery which was originally named the St Joseph Brewery. The brewery became known for the quality of their beers in the region.

In 1991, the brewery invested in new technology and equipment to improve the quality of their beers, which were well received by Belgian beer enthusiasts. *Unfortunately, fluctuating financial circumstances caused the brewery to close in 2005. A short time after, a brewing equipment salesperson by the name of Marc-Antoine de Mees heard that the brewery was for sale; he knew that this was the opportunity of his life to make a new and exciting impact in the brewing world. *(Reference- Wonderful Wanderings)

When he purchased Brasserie de Brunehaut, he began to develop beers that caught the eye (and taste buds) of modern Belgian beer consumers. The beers are great tasting and address today’s health concerns- (organic, vegan, gluten free). While keeping the ancient brewing traditions and meshing them with modern technologies, Marc-Antoine De Mees’s beers have won several awards, and are now available in 25 different countries.

BEER STYLE AND COMMERCIAL DESCRIPTION

Style category: Abbey Dubbel

Look: Dark and strong mahogany colour. Light head that remains for an average time.

Nose: First a dairy and cheese-like aroma. Then, coffee and roasted coffee beans. A touch of warm brown sugar, cane sugar and rum.

In the mouth: The mouth closely follows the nose, the roasted coffee, the grill. The caramel is just right without being too much. Then there is a lovely freshness that balances the whole but attention this is a beer for with a meal or for tasting. Goes well with meat with sweet and sour sauce, duck à l’orange…

OUR BREWVIEW OF BRASSERIE DE BRUNEHAUT ST. MARTIN ABBEY BRUNE

APPEARANCE / THE POUR:
8.0 % ABV. Poured into a open-mouthed Trappist goblet, and served at 55°F. Pours a reddish-brown color with a light tan head. The head pours and easy 2-finger height, and is tightly bubbled and dense. As the head collapses, the Brussels lacing it leaves behind is even. (We ensured this was a “Beer Clean” glass). The meniscus is slow rising. This beer is bottle conditioned, and as usual, we dispensed it into the glass. Even before pouring in the yeast, there was some haze to the beer.

AROMA / BOUQUET:
Right off the bat, you’ll get the classic fresh yeastiness that is characteristic of an Abbey double. (This is what the brewery must be describing as the dairy and cheese-like aroma.) Raisins, toffee, dark chocolate, brown sugar. We found it to have strong fruit (plum) esters. There is a coffee note in the beer as the brewery mentions- breathe in deep.

TASTE:
A mixture of plum and dark chocolate. Fresh Abbey yeastiness / fruitiness mixed in. There is a gentle hop bitterness, but very much in the background.

MOUTHFEEL / PALATE:
The beer effervescence hits the front of the tongue, but the body fullness hits the top and the back of the mouth. The aftertaste has deep mature plum, chocolate, raisins, with a slight burnt toastiness.

FOOD PAIRING SUGGESTIONS:
APPETIZERS: Blue veined cheeses, raw milk cheeses, blood sausages, sweeter chicken wings, olive tapenade and crackers. ENTRÈES: Barbeque, (we agree with the brewery’s suggestion for sweet and sour) wild game. DESSERTS: Any desserts that have a deep fruitiness- (raisins, plums) chocolate, etc. Wide open.

OVERALL IMPRESSION:
Very refreshing for an Abbey Dubbel, we feel it is unique in the world of Dubbels.  We purchased this at the Redding BevMo! at a very good price. Highly recommended, we’re happy to see St. Martin Abbey Brune on the shelves again. Seek this one out.

 

BRASSERIE DE BRUNEHAUT:
http://brunehaut.com/en/products/abbey-beers-stmartin.html

BRASSERIE DE BRUNEHAUT BEERS AVAILABLE IN THE USA FROM C2 IMPORTS:
http://www.c2imports.com/st-martin/

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