I decided to “take the air” yesterday afternoon and have a sit outside in the fading sun and brisk breeze, accompanied by my usual sidekicks… a good beer and a great cee-gar. Here’s the crew, just before we stepped outside to enjoy the air.
Pictured is New Belgium Brewery’s Trippel ale, a Belgian-style ale. The folks at Beer Advocate give it a B+, and one of their “star” reviewers gave it an A-. Unaccustomed as I am to
public speaking the language of beer criticism (and food. and wine.), I’ll defer to the Brothers:
Presentation: 12 oz brown bottle with a best before date on the side of the label. Info about the brewery and beer are on the label as well. One ounce of beer was left in the bottle with the dregs as to not cloud the brew.
Appearance: Right away two fingers of froth appear in the chalice, clinging lace is witnessed and in very good shape. Bubbly golden, looks like a tame brut.
Smell: Peaches and roses … very aromatic, phenols and a melon like fruitiness round out the aroma as well.
Taste & Mouthfeel: Super crisp with a yeast palate right from the get go, not overwhelming but it is there. Light maltiness of doughy biscuits and harsh husk. Some busy phenols throw down a mix of herbal and medicinal magic with a touch of hop bitterness to boot. Vaguely fruity; starch plantains and faint peach. A breath of alcohol in the finish. The bitterness lingers for a good while into the after taste.
Notes: Very refreshing with the 8.5% abv being slightly hidden, quite the palate cleanser. Cabot has this Parmesan Cheddar blend, a perfect match with some mini rye bread. If you are into Trippels this is a must try, IMO this is a good stepping stone to jump into the vast world of Belgian Beer.
(ed: Click the image to the left for a larger view of the label. How could you not love a beer with a label like this?)
Well. I can’t write like that, Gentle Reader, nor can I draw appropriate comparisons (“Peaches and roses … very aromatic, phenols and a melon like fruitiness…”) when it comes to beer. Nevertheless, I like Trippel. A lot.
My previous excursions into that “vast world of Belgian Beer” have not been noteworthy. I’ve sampled several Belgian lambic beers, most notably the fruit (raspberry and strawberry) variants, and I was less than impressed. Fruit and beer just don’t go together, IMHO. The Belgian beers I sampled…real Belgians, as opposed to “Belgian-style”…also had a sourness about them. “Sour,” as a dominant characteristic, has never been high on my list of qualities to be admired in a beer…any beer…and “sour” was the prominent feature of every Belgian-style beer I’d ever encountered. That was several…make that many… years ago, and I’d never had the inclination to try again. Until just recently, that is, and I’m glad I mustered whatever was required to re-visit the genre. I strongly suspect the recipe for New Belgium’s Trippel has been massaged to fit American tastes, and I’m quite alright with that…coz the result is great. Trippel will join the usual, customary, and (quite) reasonable beer inventory in the fridge at El Casa Móvil De Pennington.
Oh. And the cee-gar? One of those recently-acquired Partagas Spanish Rosados. Very tasty. That cee-gar, by the way, is sitting in an antique ashtray… if one considers something from the 1940s as an antique…which sat on my father’s nightstand as far back as I can remember, and probably a lot further than that, if we’re speaking truth. Nonetheless, this ashtray is one of my prized possessions.
And, apropos of nothing… I liked the beer and the pic well enough to make it my new wallpaper. The Second Mrs. Pennington has been fired. That was a long time coming…