Trappist beer is often associated with Belgium. This makes sense because the first six breweries given the official Trappist seal of approval are Belgian. But now, there are Trappist breweries in Italy, England, the Netherlands, United States, and Austria.
In 2012, Stift Engelszell brewery gained approval to use the official Trappist seal. At the time, it was the smallest Trappist brewery in terms of production, making only about 2,000 barred a year! For context, the next smallest Trappist brewery by production was Achel and those monks made more than 4,000 barrels annually.
With such a limited production it’s exciting to be able to enjoy this beer anywhere in the states. One place to reliably find the beers of Stift Engelszell is Wallsé an Austrian fine dinning restaurant in the West Village of NYC. Recently Wallsé had two styles from Stift Engelszell a deep golden ale called Benno and a dark beer named Gregorius.
Benno is a Saison-inspired golden ale that is noticeably less carbonated than the Belgian versions of the style. The honey used in this beer creates a floral aroma as well as a very dry finish.
Gregorius is similar to a Belgian Dark Strong, weighing in at 9.7% abv but has more chocolate and roast coffee notes than Belgian examples. Again, this beer uses honey so the beer is dry and refreshing even with an impression of sweetness.
It’s clear that the monks of Stift Engelszell are making their own mark on the Trappist beers instead of mimicking everything about the Belgian styles.
Stift Engelszell Beer with Michelin Star Dishes at Wallsé
Wallsé offers classic Austrian dishes with a fine-dining twist from Chef Kurt Gutenbrunner. The dry finish and subtle bitterness of these beers make them a great partner for most foods. It is a true pleasure to drink them with the Austrian flavors of their homeland.
I’ve visited in the winter and my favorite dishes were the smoked trout platschinken and the krianerwurst (which I believe is available year round). Although trying this limited-production beer was a treat, don’t leave Wallsé without trying a glass of their wide variety of schnapps, definitely a memorable way to end an Austrian meal!