I have started this post at least four times. Seriously, I'm not exaggerating - something about The Trappist, or Belgian beer, or Oakland, or some combination thereof makes my adorable little MacBook go "pffflt" and shut down Firefox.
But I'm a trooper, and I just have to give Brother Chuck and Brother Aaron some love. (No, silly, they are NOT really monks, though if monkhood were bestowed on the basis of how much joy one can bring to the unwashed masses, they'd definitely be in the running).
The Trappist opened in Old Oakland, and to little fanfare, in December by two guys who love Belgians and were over their day jobs. They offer 15 beers on tap, which rotate more often than I can keep up with, and another 100 or so selections by the bottle. The majority of beers are served in proper stemware (see here), and at the proper temperature. The bar and taps were imported from Belgium, and bring an incredible sense of character to this tiny space on 8th Street.
It's at The Trappist where I first tasted a Flemish Red Ale, which I now know to be a perfect friend to my palate -- I'm quite partial to Rodenbach, as it happens, though Monk's Cafe is lovely, too. These sour beers, somewhere between a Lambic and an Ale in character, are less up Colin's alley, though he too has found a flavor profile he really loves: Barrel-aged Cru beers, Allagash and Carollus in particular, are favorites of his.
There's no food service at The Trappist, but they do have two cheeses available for noshing -- an Aged Gouda and a Chimay -washed soft cheese -- with nuts and the best crackery-breadsticky things I've ever had. Either (or one of each) is more than enough to keep you upright on your barstool while you sample the next beer on your list.
Trappist is far more than you favorite local pub, though it has quickly struck that note with a handful of our neighbors. It's your favorite wine bar, redefined in an unexpected and refreshing way. It's a place where novices and beer connoisseurs alike can compare notes without pretension or affectation. Maybe most importantly, it's a place where a couple of guys are seeing their dream realized, and are clearly thankful for it, every day.
460 8th Street