The Tasting Panel magazine

January 2014

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GADD'S SIXPACK Tripel Threats THESE BELGIAN AND BELGIAN-STYLE BRUISERS ARE TERRIFIC TIPPLES Affligem Tripel The cloudy particulate matter is mostly yeast, but one suspects it also includes fragments of frayed medieval manuscripts and motes of Templar saddle dust—the abbey was founded in the 11th century. On the palate, immediate flavors as intense and luscious as biting into a perfectly ripe peach, but the nectar-like presence slowly reveals further depths of bacon fat, horehound and white chocolate. The citrus-bitter finish is perfection. World-class. TOTAL BEVERAGE SOLUTION St. Bernardus Tripel The nose is a surefire ringer for a good blended scotch, with malt tones mingling casually among the more showy esthers. The palate is as crisp and cool as clean sheets, with a finish that makes up in citrusy intensity what it lacks in length. Don't let the heavy brown residue scare you away: This unfiltered stuff is damnably drinkable. D & V INTERNATIONAL Allagash Tripel Reserve My bottle was from batch #202 of this abbey-type ale from New England's pioneering Belgian homage brewery. The snowdrift head piles up and just won't melt, making this brew a fine sight for a winter's day by the fire. The generous palate brings on a heaping mouthful of ripe white fruit, overlaid with mead-like honey tones and a haunting trace of coal fire. Another stellar beer from this can-do-no-wrong outfit in Portland, Maine. ALLAGASH BREWING COMPANY Straffe Hendrik Bruges Triple Ale 9 A true traditional "Brugse tripel" that uses roasted malts, one of the last of its type to be brewed in Bruges, from De Halve Maan Brewery founded in 1856. The explosive nose detonates with pineapple, guava and other tropical fruits, both cataloged and uncataloged. The mouth is all liquid amber and heady alcohol (9 percent), with the somber malt notes lifted with acidity and a slightly bitter edge. If there's such a thing as a session triple, this is it. WETTEN IMPORTERS Tripel Karmeliet The Chanel No. 5 of beer noses—a complex parfumier's dose of senior prom chrysanthemums, white pepper, smoke and cinnamon. The heady spice comes to the fore on the front palate, with an attack like Aunt Jeanette's Christmas spice cake. Made from three grains—wheat, barley and oats—it's a certified tripel threat: superb on the nose, orange shellac in color, keenly tangy on the tongue. Brewed from a 17th century recipe heisted by Brouwerij Bosteels from the beer-loving Carmelite order. God bless us all. ARTISANAL IMPORTS Bornem Triple Abbey Ale At first, the nose delivers a faint aroma of Sherwin-Williams semi-gloss (not necessarily a bad thing in my book), but by the third whiff it segues seamlessly into freshly peeled Anjou pear. The faultless palate is ripe (pears, again) yet full of acidic feistiness, with a laquered finish that lasts well into the night. By the end of the stubby bottle this has become one of my very favorite Belgians. GLOBAL BEER NETWORK 72  /  the tasting panel  /  january 2014 TP0114_66-108.indd 72 12/19/13 9:47 PM

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