Suffolk beer expert’s top 10 beers you must try
- Credit: Archant
From Trappist to weissbier and tripels.. René van den Oort shares his ultimate brews.
Offering more than 450 beers, it's no wonder that Beautiful Beers in Bury St Edmunds (owned by expert René van den Oort) hails it as one of the top locations in Suffolk to get a brew. If you're a lover of Belgian beer you're in luck as the retailer is a specialist, with 250 different varieties to try.
René says of the growing interest in craft beer: "People's tastes are changing. They no longer want bulky, lower-quality beers as they tend to go for less quantity but better quality and slightly stronger ones - so that's what we offer!"
Some of the most sought-after varieties are made by Trappist monks,with customers often warmed by the thought that monks produce them and give all profits to charities and good causes.
Every month the store holds a tasting event where customers are welcomed from far and wide to not only try a selection of beers, but to learn about their history too. Six to eight are usually on offer, and people are encouraged to discuss, score and compare each one. René says: "The evenings are always lots of fun. Customers can appreciate the taste, rather than just drinking it without a second thought as they'll experience quality over quantity."
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In a very difficult market for retailers, René has had to be adaptive to changing trends and circumstances to stay a successful business. "It's hard work keeping up with a constantly changing market and the vast number of beers launched every week, but I love trying and testing new flavours and then being able to share them with our customers - so it's definitely worth it."
Rene's 10 most beautiful beers:
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1. Mount St. Bernard Tynt Meadow English Trappist Ale
One of their most popular beers. A modern classic dark ale with hints of dates and plums.
2. Mighty Oak Brewing Co. Oscar Wilde Mild
A delicious, malty ale that is flavoursome even at a low strength. Very moreish.
3. S43 Sonnet Big Dank IPA Can
Hugely hopped pale ale with a delicious combination of tropical fruit flavours and smooth, creamy malts.
4. Schneider Weisse Tap 7 Original Weissbier
Amber-coloured German wheat beer with flavours of citrus fruits, banana and clove.
5. Straffe Hendrik Wild Tripel
A strong Belgian blonde beer refermented with wild yeast, creating a glorious combination of fruity esters with a sharp, dry finish.
6. Burnt Mill Shadow Cast Chocolate Stout
One of many collaboration beers this time with Lost & Grounded Brewery - it's simply superb.
7. La Chouffe
Hugely popular across Europe. Try it once and you'll realise why. Deliciously satisfying and very easy going, even at 8% abv!
8. Trappistes Rochefort 10
One of the highest-ranking Trappist ales in the World. Big, smooth, rich and very, very tasty.
9. The Elmtree Golden Pale Ale
The perfect example of a classic golden pale ale. Full-flavoured, balanced hop and malt profile - a great all-rounder.
10. Moniack Mead
No longer produced in Scotland but retaining all the qualities of a good Mead. Sweet, floral with a hint of orange.
Beautiful Beers, at 1B St John's Street, Bury St Edmunds, also sells a range of beer making kits and glassware for the perfect pour, as well as many ciders and fruit beers. The shop is open from 10.30am to 5.30pm Monday to Wednesday and Saturday, until 8pm Thursday and Friday, and from 11am to 4pm Sunday. Find out more here.