Friar’s Quad

Friar’s Quad
1 500 ml bottle, $6.99, 10.2% ABV

Purchased at Liquor Depot, New Britain

As I begin to write this page I’m left wondering if New England Brewing’s quad was a one-off brew or if there have been several generations of it. I ask because I have read that it was a one time thing, but I have seen it available at more than one package store near me in West Hartford over the course of several months. NEB rarities do not last for several months. You’re lucky if they last several days.

Perhaps NEB slowly releases these things, I don’t know. You really have to be in the know to know these things. It’s sort of a testament to Connecticut’s best brewery that they haven’t updated their website in many years, haven’t updated their blog in 3 years and they tweet about once every 3 months on average – and yet, I’m not even mad about that.

I really should be, but I’m not. Weird what great beer can do to placate a person.

Continuing the tradition of clever beer names, NEB’s labeling gurus came up with the Friar’s Quad. Perhaps I take for granted my readership, but you guys know what the Friar’s Club is, right? If not, read the brewery’s blurb about this beer and maybe it’ll jog your memory.

NEB says:

Friar’s Quad – a Belgian-style ale whose flavor is as bold as my wife’s meat loaf – and four times as tasty. *b’dump-tssssh* But I kid, folks. This ale is a real mensch. We’re here all week.

Small nitpick: That reads more like something from the Borscht Belt in the Catskills than the Friar’s Club in Manhattan. Yeah, I know both were/are traditionally haunts of Jewish comedians, but the Club is a bit more diverse I think.

Borscht BeltI am a student of a few things and two of them happen to be comedy and Belgian beer. I love the good parts of both and hate the crappy parts. I’ve been listening to and reading about comedians since my pre-teen years. I’ve been enjoying Belgian beers since my late 30′s.

Since this is pretty much the only quadrupel I know of brewed in Connecticut, an explanation is in order: inspired by the Trappist brewers of Belgium, a Quadrupel is a Belgian style ale of great strength with bolder flavor compared to its Dubbel and Tripel sister styles. Typically a dark creation that ranges within the deep red, brown and garnet hues. Full bodied with a rich malty palate. Sweet with a low bitterness yet a well perceived alcohol.

The Friar’s Quad nails down the style. I’d say the only thing they missed was the “well perceived alcohol” bit because NEB seems to hide the booziness of their high ABV lineup better than pretty much anyone. I have no issue with that at all.

This quad is quite complex. It’s malty AND slightly fruity which is a bit weird. I found it a bit thinner than other quads I’ve had and sort of nutty – and that maltiness was much more forward than expected.

But that certainly doesn’t mean it isn’t excellent. I’m giving one to my brother in law for Christmas in a couple hours (along with a NEB Pre-Meditated Murder) which is information you could have done without.

Overall Rating: A
Rating vs. Similar style: B+

Beer Advocate’s Reviews of Friar’s Quad
New England Brewing Company
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