I haven’t really been having a good day. The weather is changing and I feel tired, run down and distractable. After cooking myself some dinner, I decided to see what beer was left in my fridge to review. I apparently need to go to a bevy soon as I am running out of brews from previous trips.

But, in the corner of my beer fridge behind a blueberry ale quietly sat another Goose Island brewing company brew. This time, Pere Jaques. On the bottle, like their Matilda brew, is a little story to explain the name.

“We were doing these great brewery tours of Belgium. We toured the best breweries, even the Trappist breweries, but we couldn’t get into one of them. We were so determined that we kept calling until someone said yes. He was the Abbot and his name was Pere Jacques. He personally gave us a tour of one of the most beautiful breweries I’ve ever visited, and we finished it all off with a wonderful lunch of roast duck and wild boar, perfectly matched with the brewery’s own ales. I’ll never forget that day and that beer. We brew Pere Jacques with loads of malt and Belgian yeast for a wonderfully complex, fruity malty ale.” Greg Hall, Brewmaster

It pours a dark orange and has a really foamy head (or maybe it was just because I poured it a little sloppily).

It smells like a Belgian… and lives up to its , tasting like a true dubbel should. This is quite unexpectedly delicious coming out of such a small bottle. This one is malty, sweet, alcoholic, warming and complicated. The malt is used well here, not syrupy or heavy but just assertive and up front with its taste. This was a delightful treat for a day just like today.

I can’t believe this was made in the United States, because it tastes so warm and complicated. I know that sounds like an insult to American craft breweries but its not. The truth is that true trappist Belgians are in a category of their own, and to have this brew live up to the style even as a homage is quite a feat. If you know someone who can’t find or hasn’t had Belgian beers, this is one to start them with to gently introduce them to what can become a beer lover’s secret addiction – pick this up instead of a hefeweizen claiming to be a “Belgian Style” ale.