Allagash Brewing Company of Portland, Maine is renowned for their Belgian-style beers. Their beer, including their signature White, is distributed in 17 states, the nation’s capitol, and reaches as far west as California. Personally, I’ve never been much of a Belgian fan so, despite being a stone’s throw from Allagash, I don’t usually dabble. Blasphemy, I know. Recently, I’ve enjoyed their limited release Map 40 stout and their newest mainstay Hoppy Table Beer but kept my distance from their traditional offerings.
Tripel, though, might just change everything for me. When asked to review the Tripel Reserve, I got a little panicked. I checked out all of my go-to craft beer stores with no luck at all. As it turned out, the Tripel Reserve had become, simply, Tripel over the last few years. Tripel Reserve had a slightly different label and was notated with batch numbers, but no longer.
After reading some of the reviews and ratings from past years, I wished I’d discovered the beer earlier. The bottle of Tripel I ultimately selected though was bottled on 4/12/17 and according to Allagash, the beer is ideally consumed within one year. Yes, that’s for you cellar dwellars out there.
Just prior to opening my 750 ml bottle of Allagash Tripel, I inspected the bottle, acquainted myself with the alcohol content and said aloud, “I probably shouldn’t drink this whole thing.” Actions speak louder than words though and before I knew it, I had popped the cork of this 9% monster on a quiet Sunday night.
The flavors held up, evolving throughout the duration of each glass and for the entirety of the bottle.”
As I always do, I sniffed the contents of the bottle, pleasantly surprised. There was no distinct aroma present through the bottleneck; I wasn’t deterred yet. Pleasantly surprised to this point, I poured the beer into my glass only to find that there is a formidable amount of carbonation and a beautiful head to be found atop its golden body. I had half-expected it to be nearly still given the ABV.
Finally, after pondering and inspecting, I took my first sip. Wow. Just wow. The smoothest Belgian-style ale I’d ever tasted – and at 9%. Even in my glass, there were still only subtle aromas and certainly none that scared me away! I was impressed yet again that Tripel’s head is not the kind that dissipates quickly, it was creamy but not cumbersome.
Tripel is hopped with Nugget and Hallertau with honey and biscuit listed as notable flavors. The honey, though, is the most discernable to my pallette. Quite pleasant. The finish is dry but not to an unpleasant degree.
The brew is intended to be served between 40 and 50 degrees. That said, while I probably took my first few sips below that lower limit, I was pleasantly surprised as I continued to sip and the beer began to acclimate to room temperature. The flavors held up, evolving throughout the duration of each glass and for the entirety of the bottle.
I tried to drink it slow, you guys, I really did. It was just too damn good.
Only just an hour and a half had passed and I had slayed the mighty bottle. I was intoxicated, yes. I was tired, yes. But also, I was intrigued and feeling much more optimistic about Belgian-style beers. If you need me, I’ll be out there seeking more Belgian tripels.