This week I have the opportunity to try two different Trippels. The first that I tried tonight a friend of mine gave me to try, the other I picked up from Spec's and may try it out tomorrow.
The Style: Trippel ale is a Belgium style ale. While this beer does not mean that its three times as strong as a regular Trappist ale, instead it is related to the XXX that marked the casks showing that this was the strongest of the three trappist ales. Tripels are actually notoriously alcoholic, much more so than dubbels, however the best hide this warmth, making them sipping beers. Trappists ales were traditionally brewed by Monks in Belguim, however many American Craft breweries are taking up this trappist tradition, putting of course an American spin on things.
The Brewery: Ahh yes New Belgium, that maker of the ubiquitous Fat Tire, that has given them nation wide or almost nation wide recognition. New Belgium, started by a young Electrical Engineer Jeff Lebesch, who after biking his way through Europe and becoming enamored with Belgium brews got into brewing beer at home. His first two ales were the famous Fat Tire and his Abbey ale. In 1991 he and his wife Kim decided to open a brewery in Fort Collins, CO. I have had the opportunity to visit the brewery on a couple of occasions and its an exciting place as they always have a surprise beer on tap that you can only get in the tasting room. Also New Belgium practices susatainablitly in many ways and they are one of the largest breweries that use Wind power to help run their facility.
The Beer: I used a chalice style glass to help it give that more Belgium feel. The beer is made using Saaz Hops and an authentic Belgium Yeast Strain. The beer is also bottle fermented. The beer pours a nice light orange in the glass, starting with a thick head that quickly dissipates into a thin filmy white strip. The bottle fermentation gives the beer a nice level of carbonation. There are nice flavors of banana and bread with some citrusy undertones. However, although the bottle says there are plenty of hops, I didn't get that overpowering hop bitterness that I was looking forward too, neither did I get any of the alcohol warmth, which at 7.8% (although somewhat low for a trippel) I didn't feel. I would call this beer ok at best, but here is what the folks at Beeradvocate say.