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Jan 14, 2014 07:07 AM

Spencer Trappist Ale

Has anyone seen it for sale yet? If so please give location(s). Thanks.

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  1. I heard you won't see it until Wednesday (tomorrow) at the earliest. They bottled a ton of the stuff, so expect to see it at any store with a decent selection.

    14 Replies
    1. re: mkfisher

      I am so excited about this. That article in the Globe was so interesting. I hope to check the place out (if possible) next time I'm heading towards I84 to visit family in CT. Which stores in Camberville do you think would have a good chance of carrying it? Maybe the Wine and Cheese Cask? I'll call them tomorrow. I looked on the distributors website last week but didn't see much. Here is the article in case anyone missed it. :)

      1. re: kdemayo

        They're not open to the public for the time being, with no mention that that might change.

        I'd check Liquor World in Porter Sq and Downtown Wine & Spirits in Davis first, if they're convenient.

        Btw, reportedly the price will be about $18 for 4x11.2oz, which is about the same as the imported Trappists.

        1. re: emannths

          Will be interesting to see how they do at that price point. Like all new to Boston area beer, it will sell well initially, then collect dust for a while until it sells after everyone gets their ticks in. Can't see too many repeat buyers at that pricepoint.

          1. re: LStaff

            I'm surprised they didn't debut with 750s at $10ish instead of $18ish 4pks. Same price per ounce, less sticker shock, similar to other domestic 750s.

            It will be truly amazing if they wind up selling their eventual 40,000 bbl capacity at $18/4pk, even with nationwide distribution.

            1. re: emannths

              I was sure they would go 750ml route to start. Market as a specialty item, like champagne, and have people shrug " 10 bucks? ill try it. Support the local thing"

              18 for four beers means trying it once. One can find dogfish head 90 minute four packs for under 10 occasionally, and regularly 2 for 20. Im not saying they are similar beers but that they realized their target was not buying at 11.99 or so

              1. re: hyde

                Ommegang and Allagash 4pks are also $10-12. I can't imagine many people will spending 50% more on this more often than "once."

                1. re: emannths

                  Ommegang 4 packs can range from $12-20 depending on what beer. Some of the Allagash 4 packs exceed $10-12.

                  1. re: yarm

                    I guess it depends on the store, but Ball Sq Fine Wines has Allagash Tripel (the priciest Allagash 4pk) at $11.79.

                    Yes, 3 Philosophers approaches $20. But that's a 9.7% abv "quad" with a splash of Kriek. Hennepin, the BPA, or the Abbey ale would be more appropriate comparisons, and are about $12/4. (As an aside, before the label redesign and their marketing push for super-premium status, Ommegang beers were as much as 20% cheaper--I bought a lot more Hennepin back then)

                    At $17/4pk, you're paying about a 50% premium for the "Trappist" name. Is there any other ~6.5% domestic pale Belgian 4pk that exceeds $12 (aged and brett/wild yeast excepted, of course)? I honestly can't think of anything.

                    1. re: emannths

                      It's less per ounce than Idle Hands or many of the Enlightenment Ales (all three brewed here in Massachusetts). No one gives a hard time to the $10 750mL bottles concept for some reason.

                      The older Trappist breweries have already made up their start up costs along time ago.

                      1. re: yarm

                        There are plenty of bad deals in beer out there. 750s and small brewers both count. But Spencer is shares neither the packaging nor the brewhouse size.

                        750s have a different price structure than 4pks, 6pks, 12pks, 1/6bbl, etc. Comparing the per-ounce price of a 750 to a 4pk just tells you that 750s are a bad deal and tells little about the particular beer.

                        Idle Hands, Enlightenment, and similar breweries are also much smaller than Spencer. Idle Hands' production was in the hundreds of barrels in 2013. Enlightenment produced less than one hundred. Even at 10% of full capacity, Spencer will be making more than ten times as much beer in 2014.

                        Regardless, Idle Hands' Triplication is $9/750mL at Ball Sq Fine Wines (not known for bargain-basement prices--Spencer is $18.79 there). So even with the handicaps of a smaller brewery, an overpriced format, *and* a higher ABV, their beer is *still* cheaper than this beer from Spencer (the Triplication works out to be $15.90/4pk-equivalent)!

                        1. re: yarm

                          As far as I know, the only Enlightenment over $10 is the bier de champagne which is a tremendously expensive style to produce. Belgian versions run over $40 for 750ml. All of the other beers are $8 or $9 for 750ml (I paid $8 for the farmhouse IPA at Pemberton Farms last week).

                  2. re: hyde

                    Not to mention, I just noticed today that this is a patersbier. I try to not expect higher beer to be high ABV and vice versa but this does seem like even less of a deal now that I know that.

                2. re: LStaff

                  Yeah, more power to them but that's up around the pricing territory of BCS and it's ilk in terms of domestic beer. If it's as good as the imported Trappists (and it has an advantage due to locality) that'll help but I'm skeptical on that front.

              2. re: kdemayo

                I'm fairly certain the River St. Whole Foods is going to carry it. Like I said, it's going to be widely available.

            2. Redstone Liquors in Stoneham said on their Facebook page that "it should be in late this week or early next."

              1. Definitely worth looking for. The test batches were very good.

                  1. I don't have my hopes up considering they were trained and setup by Chimay, the most commercial of all Trappist breweries, although it is the only monastic brewery with an actual monk brewer.

                    17 Replies
                    1. re: Unfoodie

                      From what I read, they consulted greatly with Dan from Pretty Things.

                      The reviews tonight that I read from two people I follow on the Untappd beer app spoke favorably of it (both had connections at beer stores who got "advance samples").


                      1. re: yarm

                        It has 3.6 stars across 15 reviews on Untappd.

                        1. re: yarm

                          Pretty Things is not a brewery. The last brewery Dann ran was Haverhill with a 20bbl system some 7-8yrs ago. One of their brewers interned with Dann to learn the brewing process but they were completely setup and (mostly) trained by Chimay.

                          People are going to love it because of its prominence of being the first U.S. Trappist beer no matter what it tastes like.

                          1. re: Unfoodie

                            I'd maybe modify that second paragraph to say that people are going to buy it because of its prominence of being the first U.S. Trappist beer no matter what it tastes like. That can only last so long, though. At some point, the product has to match the price. If I can buy Rochefort 6 for $0.50-$1.00 per bottle more, why exactly am I getting more than one 4 pack of Spencer?

                            1. re: Unfoodie

                              >Pretty Things is not a brewery. The last brewery Dann ran was Haverhill with a 20bbl system some 7-8yrs ago.

                              What does that have to with anything - or being trained by Chimay "the most commercialized of all trappist breweries" for that matter? You may not prefer Chimay over other trappist brewers, but technically they make great beer.

                              And from my understanding Dann Paquette - who is currently brewing Pretty Things beer himself at a real brewery (50bbl system I believe) - he just doesn't own it, just like he didn't own haverhill/the tap - helped with the recipe formulation. One of the few brewers in the area imo that really understands the yeast profile of styles like this.

                              1. re: LStaff

                                I was pointing out that he doesn't have recent experience RUNNING a brewery, I never said anything about owning one. Running a brewery is much different then owning a lable.

                                1. re: Unfoodie

                                  Are you implying that Dann hasn't brewed PT beer in a while then? I still dont see your point.

                                    1. re: Unfoodie

                                      Unfoodie - Are you saying that Dann doesn't brew the PT beers? If not, then I have no idea what your complaint is.

                                      1. re: stiv99

                                        He does brew the beer (himself and his wife) at a brewery (Buzzard's Bay) where he has complete control over his product. But I don't see how this relates to Spencer if he did or if he didn't.

                                        1. re: LStaff

                                          I do know that Dann and Martha brew the beers themselves. I was not sure if Unfoodie was uninformed or just trying to grind an axe really hard.

                                          I can't imagine why Unfoodie thinks that the Paquettes don't have recent experience running a brewery - what else would one call what they do?

                                          1. re: stiv99

                                            This conversation is great. Unfoodie's point is that Dann and Martha don't actually own any of the brewery infrastructure. Yes, they have a label. Yes, they brew beer. No, they don't actually own any of the property/plant/equipment. That's the distinction. Not sure why this is so complicated.

                                            In terms of how this effects the monks in Spencer, I have no clue.

                                      2. re: Unfoodie

                                        Just trying to understand why you are discounting Dann Paquette's experience -current or otherwise, and what effect you think partnering with Pretty Things and Chimay will have on the quality of the beer brewed by Spencer trappists. I don't see that any of these things are a predictor of Spencer breweries success or would hinder the quality of the beer produced. I thought I was being polite about it, but please excuse me if I wasn't

                                2. re: Unfoodie

                                  "The monks had help in developing their recipe. One of the monks brewed with Dann Paquette and Martha Holley-Paquette of Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project for two years. Two of them traveled to Belgium. Harpoon's Dan Kenary had early input into the project."

                                  According to:

                                  And according to the Pretty Things year wrap up:
                                  "In the past few years Dann has been instrumental in guiding a Trappist Monastery in Massachusetts towards building North America’s first certified Trappist brewery. Dann and Martha educated the monks on brewing and beer, and provided practical training for one of the monks who assisted on Pretty Things brew days."


                                  1. re: yarm

                                    I read the article too but thanks for the refresher. Great PR read.

                                    Trappist beer importers have been talking about this brewery for 2+ years and they all comment on the monetary relationship with Chimay. Chimay expanded too quickly and flooded the U.S. with beer and marketing campaigns that have alienated them from their humble monastic roots and sales have dropped as a result. Being in bed with a declining brand might not workout in Spencer's favor.

                                    1. re: Unfoodie

                                      Another reasons for the decline probably include better domestic options. There was a time when Belgian beer was one of the best choices (with Canada's Unibroue jumping in on that) for reliable beer.

                                      Any link to an article describing Chimay's declining sales? Couldn't find one with my first few attempts on Google. I haven't heard anyone else speak negatively about the brand.

                                      1. re: yarm

                                        Trappist Ales like Orval and Rochefort are very hard to replicate (see Goose Island's attempt at replicating beer from them) unlike Chimay and therefore have staying power. You are correct that domesticly brewed Belgian styles have taken a large share of the once monopolized market.

                                        Speaking negatively about Trappist beers is sacrilegious (har har)! Talk to importers or distributors and they will tell you that it's not flying off the shelves the way it once was.

                                        On a side note: Unibroue is owned by Sapporo and I always get a chuckle when I see it in bars and stores who refuse to carry Goose Island and Crispin cider because they're owned by mega breweries.