Belgians aren't specifically know for their Stouts. In the twelve years that Beer Ritz has been in operation I can only think of one that we've ever stocked - and that one went out of stock a long time ago. That was Stouterik from the De La Senne brewery and was fantastic, I'm not sure why we don't stock it anymore. Sure the Belgians make loads of amazing (really dark) beers, but they're not stouts. They make a few very popular Imperial Stouts, La Quintine Hercule and Podge certainly come to mind, but when it comes down to it I've only ever had the one Belgian Stout.... That is until now!
The Belgians also aren't specifically known for making new beers either. All these Trappist Monasteries and old school beer producers... when was the last time you saw them make a new beer. When was the last time you saw a new Belgian Beer? (I can't think of any) Now the beer I'm having today is new to me. Some may say it's cheating because it's a beer that was in production in the 1950's - but it's only recently that the brewers have started making it again. So, it's a Belgian Stout, it's relatively new (use your own definition of new) and it's from the much beloved and highly respected (in our shop especially) Brasserie Dupont!
Monk's Stout is probably one of the lightest Belgian beers I've had in quite some time; at 5.2% it's certainly not going to knock you out, but don't go thinking it's light in flavour! Not a shred of light creeping through this devilishly dark brew, and not too much in the ways of aromas, but it's the flavour which really sets this beer apart. It's packed out with sadistically roasted malts and quite a bit of smokey oaky flavours to the body. A good peppery, drying carbonation leaves you wanting more and drinking up fast, but it's really the smokey burnt malt flavours that really linger. A Belgian Stout - Hell Yeah! Your average Stout (or what you may think of as a Stout) certainly not.
I think it would be great if a few more Belgian Brewers could start making a few different beers, especially ones as great as Dupont. Even if they weren't 'new' beers, just revitalised old recipes, it would certainly be something to talk about. I understand the constraints of a monastery, but could you imagine it.... Chimay IPA.... Imperial Orval, just something to think about. (or dream about)