As beer geeks, we couldn't pass up an opportunity to visit the Trappist, a new bar in old town Oakland focusing on Belgian beers, on opening night. We arrrived at around 8 p.m. and had to wait about 30 minutes to get in (the place only has a capacity of 49 and they were wisely exercising crowd control that night). Although it is small, it is a very nice place - exposed brick walls, iron work, a few barrel tables in the back. Clientele appeared of the neighborhood, with a few of the beer community types thrown into the mix.
But what about the beers, right? They had, I think, 20 beers on tap and a good size bottle list. As expected, the selection veered heavily toward the belgian and belgian-style. We stuck with the taps for that night (will have to go back to check out the bottles, but the City Beer really has the market on that). We tried: Caracole Ambree (really interesting Belgian amber with only a hint of sweetness, lots of malt, and a fair amount of hops); Houblon Chouffe (the consensus in our group was that it tastes better from bottle than on draft); the Carolus Grand Cru (excellent - maybe my favorite of the night, by a nose over the Caracole); St. Bernardus Trippel (not that interesting). In the non-belgian category, we also had an Avery Old Jubilation and Avery IPA (always happy to see Avery out here) at last call. I had a sip of someone's Anderson Valley Brother David, which we found much better on draft than in the bottle.
Apparently they have cheese plates, but otherwise the food is minimal. It is a small place, but a definitely fills a great niche. We will definitely be back (and often).
460 8th Street, Oakland, CA