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Session #24 – An Unexpected Belgian Tripel

By Joe Ruvel · February 6th, 2009 · 2 Comments

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Two nights ago around 11pm, I was in my pantry or beer cave as I like to call it trying to find a Tripel to taste with Jasmine for the #24 installment of The Session – being run my Musings Over a Pint. I pushed away a bunch of Russian River beers, was momentarily distracted by a Meantime Porter (I forgot I had that!), and looked leeringly and all the wine bottles taking up precious space in the cave that could house Belgian Tripels – ready for a Session tasting when I need them. Alas – no Tripels in the house (yup looked in the fridge too – lots of beer – homebrew included but no Tripels).

The next night, with the rain coming down – I stop at my local beer shop and while I do purchase a bottle (Russian River Consecration!) – they don’t have a proper Tripel either. I picked up a yellow rose for Jasmine as I know she had a hard day and made my way home thinking of how to do a Session about wonderful Belgian Tripels when all I have are porters, ales, and barleywine.

Alas – my partner in beer related crime had my back. A Tripel for Two is the theme of this session – and Jasmine had not only bought a Tripel earlier in the day but had bought a special different kind of Tripel. After dinner we tasted  – Houblon Chouffe Dobbelen IPA Tripel -  every time I say or type that name I laugh a bit.

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This is not a usual Tripel. It comes from Brasserie d’Achouffe (makers of La Chouffe). When I think of a Tripel usually I think of a Trappist beer like Westmalle (where it is said the term Tripel was first used to describe the strongest beer that the monks had brewed) or an Abbey beer like Affligem Tripel or Maredsous 10, with the high alcohol and rich malt flavor. This odd little Tripel is an IPA Tripel. And ya know what? It works.

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The hops were more subdued then I originally thought they would be, but oh they are there (Amarillo, Tomahawk, and Saaz). When you pour you instantly see the white head – full – and a bit out of control if you pour too fast. The smell is herbal – grassy – but with some nice citrus fruit behind it. And then the taste – awesome – a mixture of a sweet Tripel and a great light IPA. It is deceivingly drinkable if you ask me (9% ABV). Both Jasmine and I felt tipsy after finishing the bottle.

All in all, this beer was a surprise and I enjoyed not only the beer but sharing it with my girlfriend and writing partner. A new mysterious brew to share with the one you love is a good way to spend a night. Oh and I love the guy on the front!

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Tags: Tastings · The Sessions

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Jasmine // Feb 6, 2009 at 11:26 am

    Man, that was a good beer! Thank you Whole Foods. We should have taken a picture of the rose you brought home too, or a picture of us exchanging a beer for a rose :)

  • 2 The Session #24 - The Roundup // Feb 23, 2009 at 8:05 pm

    [...] and Jasmine, the team at Beer at Joe’s, were saved in their search for a Tripel to review by Jasmine’s foresight. The pair enjoyed [...]