Originally I had something else in mind for this week's selection, but between yesterday evenings trip to happy hour at the Cock and Bull and the couple bottles that T-bone left in my fridge before he left this weekend, I'm calling an audible at the line and choosing Maredsous as this week's Booze Of The Week.
One disclaimer though, there are actually two different types of Maredsous. They're quite similar to each other, but one is generally draft only and is 8% alcohol whereas the bottled version is 10% alcohol. There's also a blonde that's 6% but I've never seen it, so I'm going to pretend it doesn't exist. The Maredsous 8, as the 8% version is called, is a dubble ale which is a designation simply that it is stronger than a pilsner but weaker than a triple, which is what the Maredsous 10 is.
Maredsous is often confused with Trappist (or Abbey) ales which are actually produced in a monk's abbey, as has been the tradition for hundreds of years. Chimay is a prime example of this, except that Maredsous is not actually produced at the Maredsous Abbey but is instead licensed to another company (although the Maredsous Abbey does produce Maredsous Cheese). It's also worth noting that the producer of Maredsous (Duvel Moortgat Brewery) are also the makers of Duvel, which was founded in 1871 (Maredsous only dates back to 1963).
But that's not what you care about, you want to know more about the beer itself (unless you've already had it). So I will tell you that it's pretty widely available at specialty stores and pub-style bars in the US before telling you that for such a high alcohol beer, it's amazingly smooth and sweet. There's a little more hop and spice on the Maredsous 10, but both of the beers share a characteristic of being dark beers that are not bitter on account of the burnt malt, but instead strangle sweet, and as a result one of those trap beers that's so good you don't realize how drunk out of your mind you're getting as you drink it-consider that a pint is the equivalent to almost two pints of your average American pilsner, and you know why this beer has produced so many drunken nights for so many folks.
It's also worth noting that Maredsous is bottle-conditioned, meaning that it's fermented in the bottle and can last several years if stored upright in a cool place, unlike most beers which spoil in a matter of months. It also means there will be a fair amount of yeast and sediment in the bottle, so be prepared.
But ultimately, the charm of this beer is that it's a dark beer that doesn't taste quite like a dark beer, but at the same time is a great cold weather beer that's chock full of alcohol. And while I envision this re-appearing as the BotW come December or January, its also this week's Booze Of The Week.