Featured Brewery: Maredsous Brewery
Since 1872, the monks from the Maredsous Abbey, near Denée, Belgium, have been known for their commitment to patience, prayer, devotion and hospitality. As a Benedictine abbey, the community of 35 monks live, pray and work according to the traditions of St. Benedict.
Known especially for their hospitality, this is one of the reasons they began brewing the Maredsous Abbey beers. Their three brews include a blonde, brune and triple. According to the abbey, these three ales stand out because of their refined, flowery, fruity aroma and delicate sparkle. Each ale goes through a natural refermentation in the bottle, which means the beer continues to mature in the bottle.
The recipe for the beer is one of the Abbey’s best-kept secrets. However, the production of the beer was beginning to interfere with the monks’ strict interpretation of the Benedictine way of life. Since 1963, the abbey beer production has been licensed under Duvel Moortgat, a Belgian brewing company. However, Bernard Lorent, the current Abbott, or head of the monastery, is still involved in managing the brewing process, and making sure a significant share of the profits go to charitable projects.
Featured Beer: Maredsous Tripel
“Maredsous Tripel (10% alcohol) is a golden-bodied Belgian Triple, redolent with festive sparkle, creamy body and a luscious head. Its elegant smoothness belies the strong alcohol content. With a balanced, long and warming finish, it is only drunk in the monastery on special occasions. Full and robust in character with an elegant smoothness and rich aftertaste, it’s known as an abbey beer for a true connoisseur.” – From MaredsousBieres.be
“The complex bouquet immediately grabs you thanks to its fruity aromas, with touches of banana and zesty orange, alcohol, touches of raisins and other dried fruit. All of this is enriched with a hint of caramel from the caramel malt, which gives a taste not unlike that of sweet syrup.”
– From Belgian Beer Tourism’s website
Maredsous Tripel pairs well with the earthy flavors found in mushrooms, potatoes, pork and fennel. Fruit and sweet flavors are also a good pairing, especially apples, caramel, cinnamon or bananas.
Apple-Cranberry Maple Glazed Ham
1 bone-in ham, fully cooked
1/2 cup cranberry juice
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 cup apple jelly
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
Allow ham to stand at room temperature for 1 hour before cooking. Preheat oven to 350° F. Place ham in a large roasting pan. Place the cranberry juice, maple syrup, jelly and vinegar in a 2-cup measuring cup. Microwave for 30 to 45 seconds, or until jelly is melted and all ingredients are incorporated.
Pour half of the mixture over the ham. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes per pound, or until a meat thermometer registers 135° F. Spoon juices over the top of the ham about every 20 minutes. Remove ham from oven. Spoon remaining apple juice mixture over the surface, and return to the oven for 15 minutes.
Allow ham to stand for 20 minutes before serving. Pour remaining juices from the bottom of the pan into a saucepan. Bring to a boil, and let the mixture reduce to half its volume. Serve as a sauce that accompanies the ham, or brush over the ham before serving.