Westmalle Trappist Tripel

As a new stock of this Belgian beer legend has entered the LCBO precincts, we dive in to check the current palate.

For some background on the Tripel style, these brief Wikipedian notes are useful. They mention beer writer Michael Jackson (1942-2007), who launched the fame of the beer in the first place, beyond Belgian borders but I suspect also within, to a large degree.

It is a strong golden ale, and in part became fashionable, in informed beer circles, due to the light colour. Golden beers, classically pils-type, were burgeoning in popularity through the 1900s. Westmalle Tripel capitalized on that. The Trappist designation enhanced the package.

Yes it is very good. The Belgian yeast signature is there, certainly. Regular readers of mine know that beers exhibiting this taste will never be a personal favourite, but Westmalle Tripel has other things going for it.

There is something pleasantly pear or apple-like in the background. The alcoholic strength – 9.5% abv, seems to match especially well the yeast character. The carbonation is adroit, soft and pillowy. Sweet malt and light hopping help finally to form an elegant – and potent again – beer palate.*

And so I do like it, but just occasionally. Today it was a few ounces at home after a pint downtown on a peregrination up Yonge Street (more lively than I have seen it in a while). The rest stays in the bottle to be enjoyed another night. A tight black and red stopper also from LCBO will keep it comme il faut.

Dinner soon, home-made lobster sandwiches. We bought some frozen Maritimes lobster, in season currently. Bought the all-important hot dog buns. Got the mayo. Got whatever else the recipe says.  What’s not to like, but I’ll let you know.



*It brings to mind some some Champagne. I always felt the classic Belgian phenolic yeast may have origins, or in part, in northern French vineyards.



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