In XIth century Tournay, when the city only had barely 10,000 inhabitants, a cannon called Odon d'Orléans was unable to find a place for silent prayer and meditation. So he founded a new place to live and pray: St Martin's Abbey.
In 1096, Bishop Radbot granted the monks of St Martin's the right to brew, a valuable privilege granted by King Childeric. And that is all to the good as in a time when plague and cholera reigned, people already knew that it was wiser to drink beer than water. The recipes of St Martin's beers have remained a secret.
These are exceptional beers, with a fine and subtle flavour, comprising several types of barley and hops and enriched with rare spices. A beer of yestery ear and of today, to be shared...
Look: A golden straw colour, with a strong foam once opened then the bubbles gently rise to the top and a good head remains.
Nose: Sharp, lively and nervous, fermentation with a touch reminiscent of a flowery cheese.
In the mouth: A round, balance and full flavour. In the mouth it is floral, elegant and direct, almost feminine. A great beer that perfectly suits cheeses with a hard crust or some fine Bries and Camemberts.
The aftertaste has a noble bitterness.
Look: Dark and strong mahogany colour. Light head that remains for an average time.
Nose: First a dairy and cheese-like aroma. Then, coffee and roasted coffee beans. A touch of warm brown sugar,
cane sugar and rum.
In the mouth: The mouth closely follows the nose, the roasted coffee, the grill. The caramel is just right without being too much. Then there is a lovely freshness that balances the whole but attention this is a beer for with a meal or for tasting. Goes well with meat with sweet and sour sauce, duck à l'orange ....
Look: A strong look, old gold. A strong, fine foam edge stays well.
Nose: The first nose is marked by candied fruit and a touch of acacia honey and supported by the fermentation to prevent it from being excessively sugary.
In the mouth: Supple, round and full flavour. Rich. The impression of a delicacy in the mouth comes before the thirst-quenching impression. A beer for tasting rather than quenching thirst.
To be kept to be enjoyed by the fire with Herve cheeses briefly prepared in the oven with some Liege syrup (apple and pear syrup). A beer for gourmets.
Look: Dark colour but with reflections of red fire, amber and very elegant. The head stays well and is solid and of good aspect.
Nose: Surprising, an explosion of different spices. Fermentation and yeast are almost absent.
But cinnamon, cloves and warm oriental spices, these all clearly point to the time of year for drinking this type of beer.
In the mouth: If the impression is lively and rich, in the mouth the spices are present. Everything the nose can smell is present in the mouth. Tasting is best in the cold seasons with a series of strong cheeses, Maroille, Herve, ... spicy stews, could also be tried with a lamb, prune and cinnamon tagine.