Exceptional beer and food pairings right to your home

December 24, 2011 - Shannon

Believe it or not, there is one question that I hate… “What’s your favorite beer?”  I’ll gladly talk beer with a friend or stranger any day, but this question makes me sweat.


The truth is, I don’t HAVE a favorite beer.  I probably have a “Top 5″ and depending on my mood and the time of the year, I’ll go for one of these as a fallback if I’m not in the mood to try something new and adventurous.  I have shared one of these favorites with you already, Schneider Aventinus, but today is another: Tripel Karmeliet.


Can you tell by now that I love Belgian beers??


Brewed with a 300+ year old recipe, Tripel Karmeliet uses three grains in its brew process: wheat, barley, and oats.  It is fermented in the bottle, and I have enjoyed this particular beer both on draught and in bottles.  The ratings on BeerAdvocate call it both “Exceptional” and “World Class” which just surprises me because it did not make their Top 100 list.  Though I’m sure the brewery isn’t worried since being picked in my Top 5 is almost as glamorous.


Pouring this beer is beautiful.  There is a creamy white head that hangs out during my entire drinking experience, and the color though light, doesn’t resemble a pale ale or lager.  I’d call it a warm, honey color and I can see a constant stream of bubbles escaping through this crisp libation.


The scent is both straight forward and complex at the same time.  It’s floral, but much softer than an IPA.  It’s warm and citrusy, with some lingering coriander.


Drinking Tripel Karmeliet is truly an experience.  The initial flavor is crisp, then the effervescence hits you, and the finish is delicate punctuated by the creamy head.  Even though the beer is cold, the taste is warm and comforting.  Layers of flavor come through every sip: banana, clove, coriander, pineapple.  At 8.4% ABV I expected to taste a bit of the alcohol, but there really are so many other things going on here that sing in beautiful compliment, that there’s no room for such an unfinished flavor as alcohol.


Consider this tip my Holiday gift to you… Try a Tripel Karmeliet.  It’s one of the staples in my beer cellar, but if you can’t make it to my place for a sample then splurge a bit on yourself.  You’re worth it, and your pallet will thank you.

Tripel Karmeliet

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