We went to the Monk’s Kettle on a day when they were closed until 5pm due to some water complications. Normally they are open for lunch, so when we got there around 5:45, the place was already packed. They are pretty strict about seating and the hostess was outside not allowing anyone else in because they were already at max capacity. Max capacity on a Saturday at 5:45! This is a true mission hotspot. The interior is not too large but is well decorated along classic gastropub styles with rich woods, polished metal taps and a plethora of glassware types and shapes. The staff is friendly, quick and knowledgable. The bartenders even taste with the patrons a bit to help build the experience (which probably helps the friendly aspect). We love their attention to quality beer and food as well as the focus on the pairing of the two. Each dish on the menu has three suggested pairings depending whether you want the beer to cut, contrast or compare to the flavors of the dish. They even age some of their beers and offer them on the menu. The list just calls for a belgian beer, so we each decided to get our own.
I went for the St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus. This Belgian quadrupel ale clocks in at a nice 10.5% alcohol. Served in a goblet, the color is a rich, dark brown. The head is nice and frothy and has a coffee colored tint to it. There’s not much on the nose, kind of faint aromas of malt and dark fruit. I always have the fear that a lack of nose will lead to a lack of flavor. This beer is one of those that proves me wrong in a big way. The flavor is instantly rich and deep with complex notes of raisin, coffee and malt. There are no hop flavors (standard with ales like this) and the beer is slightly sweet and has a creamy mouthfeel to it. The alcohol hides itself amongst the well balanced flavors of this beer, though you do feel it halfway through. It’s ales like this that push belgian beers to the top of my list and why I would hands down take this over the best glass of wine any day.
There has yet to be a Belgian beer that I have disliked, but to be honest with you beer tasting is not my area of expertise. I really don’t know what to look for or how to describe it, but here goes nothin’… Because ‘The List’ directed us to order a Belgian beer and having only 3 Belgian (draft) beers on the menu, our decision was not too difficult. I went with the Special Belge, a strong Pale from Brasserie Dupont with a lower ABV of 5.7%. It’s served in a tulip glass which produces a large head. The color is beautiful, looking like a liquid caramel. It had a bit of grassiness to it, with some tart acidity and maybe some apricot. I don’t remember any strong fragrance from the nose of the beer. This beer was delicious, but being priced at a steep $12 a glass, it was probably the last time I will have enjoyed this tasty beverage.
We both agree that this place is great. Though we didn’t try any food, we’ve heard that it’s just as good as the beer, which was fantastic. The selection is big, the staff is great and they’ve really done a great job from top to bottom. Our recommendation is go try it out, and snag a tasty belgian beer while you’re there.
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