I really enjoy Belgian ales, and plan to review several of them in the upcoming weeks. So I’ll start with St. Sebastiaan Dark because it is in my fridge right now…
St. Sebastiaan is brewed in Meers, Belgium by the Sterkens family who has been practicing their craft since 1651. It is not, however, a Trappist beer, even though the name might lead you to think so. If you’re interested in what differentiates a Trappist beer, the short answer is that a Trappist beer must be brewed inside the walls of a monastery. I’ll dig a little deeper into this for an upcoming review. If you can’t wait, check out the International Trappist Association website for more information.
Regardless of its provenance, St. Sebastiaan is a fine beer. It is packaged in a unique ceramic bottle as you can see below.
I poured the beer into a room temperature goblet. The beer is a dark brown, almost the color of molasses. It has a rich, thick head that leaves a fine lace. The aroma is light, fresh, and has a hint of fruit. The beer is quite bubbly – not as much as champagne, but more so than most beers. The flavor is not complex, but it is pleasant with a hint of raisin in the background. It actually tastes better as it warms up. If you’re not familiar with Belgian ales, this would be a good beer to start your journey with.