Issue 30

Beer Chat: Favorites

Beer Chat: Favorites

Belgian Tripel (or Trippel): The Belgian Tripel style was originally brewed by Trappist monks at the Westmalle brewery. Examples of this style are golden in color and pack a high ABV, usually from 7.5 to 9.5 percent. Known for being spicy and fruity, the Tripel is a very complex and delightful beer. Be forewarned: this style packs a punch.

Chimay—Tripel (Belgium)

Wide availability in bottles

Appearance: 2/3
The pour leaves a beautiful, burnt golden color that has a slight haze. An off-white huge creamy head shows no sign of diminishing, and leaves a beautiful blanket of lace around the glass.

Aroma: 11/12
Bready notes are abundant, followed by a wonderful honey aroma. Light stone fruits make way for a slight banana smoothie and clove character.

Flavor/mouthfeel: 23/25
Delicate spices and toffee come to mind instantly. Pepper, coriander and clove also comes to mind. Great bready/toasty lemon tartness supports. A delicious caramel and honey sweetness turns into a long dry finish. Medium-light in body with smooth and creamy carbonation.

Overall: 9/10
Amazing complexity makes this a top example of the style, round and creamy throughout. Everyone should enjoy a Trappist brewed version in order to fully understand the heights your taste buds can reach with this style.

Total score: 45/50

New Belgium—Trippel (Fort Collins, CO)

Wide availability in bottles

Pours a brilliantly clear and vibrant deep golden color. Moderate white head is creamy in texture and dissipates rather quickly, leaving some delicate lacing that clings to the glass.

Aroma: 7/12
Banana dominates the nose and is backed up by a huge biscuity/bready aroma. Light clove, caramel and sugary pear release as the beer warms up a bit.

Flavor/Mouthfeel: 18/25
Candied banana topped with melted caramel is accompanied by bubblegum flavors. Closer tasting reveals a bready character and a tangerine sweetness. Slight peppery spice makes way for a moderately dry finish. Medium-light in body with a creamy carbonation feel, and virtually no detectable alcohol warmth.

Overall: 7/10
This could be a good choice for those looking to ease their way into the world of Belgian style beers. It is available virtually everywhere, and is not as dominating as many others in this category.

Total score: 34/50

Modern Monks—Trippel (Grand Island, NE)

Available draft only: Crescent Moon (Omaha); Bricktop (Lincoln)

Appearance: 3/3
The pour leaves a brilliant clear golden color that truly glistens. A lasting frothy off-white head lasts for ages, and finally leaves a tightly packed webbing of lace sticking to the glass.

Aroma: 10/12
Wonderful bouquet of freshly sliced pear, oranges and faint banana mingle with a toasted bready character. Some mild clove adds a spiciness that complements.

Flavor/mouthfeel: 20/25
A honeydew/cantaloupe like sweetness is followed by a dried apricot and light banana flavor. Toasted bready notes are accompanied by spicy clove and white pepper. Starts sweet and evolves into a dry finish with a higher than normal but pleasant hop bitterness. Medium in body with a creamy effervescent carbonation feel.

Overall: 8/10
This one is a flavor powerhouse. The depth and quantity of different fruits is incredible. This is one you want to jump on quick, as this is a small craft brewery that likes to rotate what they offer.

Total score: 41/50

Weyerbacher—Merry Monks’ Ale (Easton, PA)

Widely available in bottles

Appearance: 2/3
The pour reveals a rather hazy golden orange color with a few particles in suspension. The head shows off huge white pillows of creamy foam, delicately placing tight lacing around the edges of the glass.

Aroma: 8/12
Alcohol makes an instant presence. Banana and mild orange aroma mingles with bready/grainy notes. Candy sugar sweetness and a slight mineral aroma is detected.

Flavor/mouthfeel: 13/25
Dominating flavor is that of banana and pear. Some mild spices of white pepper and clove. Some medicinal notes peak through. Simple syrup character dries quickly with an alcohol presence. Medium in body with a creamy carbonation feel. Slight astringency and high alcohol warmth is almost overpowering.

Overall: 5/10
Some nice fruity flavors are the upside to this brew. I can almost feel my hangover starting now. Hot alcohol can detract from what this beer has to offer. Worth a try, but make sure you don’t have early morning plans.

Total score: 28/50

Boulevard—Long Strange Tripel (Kansas City, MO)

Widely available in bottles

Appearance: 2/3
The pour lends to a hazy deep golden orange hue. Huge creamy off-white head of tightly packed bubbles delivers beautiful lacing across the glass.

Aroma: 9/12
Deep honey notes along with freshly crushed pepper dominate the aroma. A toasty/bready character is infused with light banana and coriander. Wonderful round complexity with subdued sweetness in the nose.

Flavor/mouthfeel: 21/25
First impression is of fresh pear and a rich sweet caramel character. Peach, melon, lemon and fresh pineapple add to the fruity complexity. Toasty/bready notes again mingle with light banana and coriander with the addition of white pepper. Medium in body with very creamy carbonation feel and slight alcohol warmth.

Overall: 7/10
Complex and delicious. This is not the most authentic-tasting Tripel, having little of the Belgian yeast character found in other examples, yet is still a great beer that will do great with age. Grab a few bottles and open one each year.

Total score: 39/50

Jason McLaughlin

Jason McLaughlin

Jason is a Certified Cicerone, ranked National as a BJCP judge (Beer Judge Certification Program), is a craft beer aficionado, a writer for the Nebraska Beer Blog, and award winning homebrewer living in Lincoln. Jason spends time traveling around the country judging beer competitions, and attending related events. Beer tasting and evaluation is his passion, and he can appreciate a great example of any style regardless of hype.

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