Cooking with beer #2: Trappist, tripple and Abbey beers

Nov 05, 2015 by Stephane

Cooking with Blonde Abbey beers have a slightly yellow to gold color and are beers of high fermentation. They are characterised by a malty and relatively neutral, slightly sweet and full flavour. They have a pleasantly bitter and rather dry after taste. These kind of blonde abbey beers can be used as dressing for salads where you can substitute vinegar and wine vinegar with blonde abbey beer. You can use them in muscle dishes where the clams will become extra fragrant thanks to having been cooked / boiled in this beer. Baked muscles get a slightly spicy and fresh touch by adding some blonde abbey beer into the sauce.

Soups can benefit from the addition of this kind of beer, especially if they already contain poulty, vegetables, veal or fish. The beer should be added while the soup is still on the fire. The same applies when adding blonde abbey beers to sauces for chicken, veal, turkey or fish - add the beer while the sauce is still cooking. For an extra touch you can combine the beer with some mustard before adding it to the sauce or soup.

Cooking with Tripple beers - Most tripples have a golden colour and are relatively heavy, malty beers of high fermentation that undergo a second fermentation in the bottle. Often these beers contain various herbal aromas and they can have a bitter / sweet with a really full aftertaste. The alcoholic percentage of these beers is often quite high and rarely under 8%. Famous tripples include Chimay, Affligem, Grimbergen, Karmeliet (personal favorite) and Tongerlo (an award winning beer).

Some tripple beers can leave a bitter aftertaste in dishes if the liquids are cooked for too long. Overcooking will certainly not diminish the flavour of the beer, so time well. The best course of action is to add tripple beers gradually to your dish, taste after each addition and then add more if needed. Of course you can make your dish it as bitter as you like. Tripple beers are maltier and have a fuller taste and because they often also have herbal touches they can add quite intense flavours to your dish. This also applies when adding them to sauces and when used in fish and seafood dishes. Tripples are very well paired with thick heavy soupes as well as with stews with beef and game.

Cooking with Trappist beers - These are beers that are still brewed in actual abbeys. They must be produced there in order to be allowed to use the label of “authentic trappist poduct”. Examples of these types of beer are Orval, Chimay, Westmalle and of course Westvleteren, among others. There are various kind of trappist beers, like “dubbel”, “trippel” and even “quads” like the Westvleteren 12, Rochefort 10 and La Trappe Quadrupel. These quads all have an alcohol content of over 10%. When it comes to cooking with Trappist beers we can apply the same rules as when cooking with dark abbey beers. Because of the high alcohol content and their characteristic malty flavours, these beers are best suited to be added to stews of beef or game. Additionally they can also be used in sauces, with or without onions, smoked bacon or ham and with herbs such as thyme, rosemary, oregano or bay leaves. When used with these types of ingredients the results are usually excellent.