Beer Wars: The Battle of the Tripels

In the interest of keeping things upbeat around here, we have two new aspects to the blog.  First, we are having the first ever battle between two beers.  Secondly, this is the first time we are featuring a guest reviewer: John.  This battle will feature two different perspectives and two different brewers version of a Belgian Tripel.

The first beer is Karmeliet Tripel.  This beer is brewed by the Bosteels Family and Browerij Bosteels in Belgium.  It is made with three different grains: oats, barley, and wheat.  This is a recipe that has been around since 1679, which means that it has a lot of years of experience and perfecting going on.

The other beer we are featuring in this battle is an Ename Tripel.  The details on this tripel are a lot harder to find.  Apparently, Ename was a castle in Beligium that was built in 974 AD and converted to an abbey in 1063 AD.  This is when the St. Benedictus monks moved in.  However, in 1794 this abbey was ransacked and destroyed by French Revolutionaries.  They not only killed all of the monks, but also, burned the entire abbey to the ground.  In 199o Roman Brewing Company picked up this label and began brewing a variety of different Ename Beers.  There are not a lot of different details related to the brewing practices of this beer: however, I’m still hoping for a delicious tripel.

Karmeliet: John’s Review (unadulterated by Gary)

Gary has been lying to you.  He claims to have good taste in the finer things in life, but he owns more than 5 movies starring Keanu Reeves.  He will impress you with facts and figures but when you get down to it, beer is about drinking something that makes you feel better about bobbing your head to that Ke$ha song.   However, fine beers require the same thoughtful consideration that went into the perfection of the recipe.  With that in mind, I will attempt to convey the near perfection of Karmeliet Tripel.

Sound of Music taught me to start at the very beginning, so I’ll do just that .  The champagne cork pops and you pour a hazy golden ale that reminds you of a hefeweizen.  On the nose you will smell pineapple, lemon, cream, and banana (seriously).  The aroma literally fills a room and at this point you are not regretting the $13 you spent on this beer.  There is a technical term for the taste of the beer (mouth feel?) but let me just say your tongue is going to high-five you.  There is a texture to the beer, like a Napa Chardonnay, that fills your mouth with a thick and satisfying creamy smoothness.  You get oak and fruit on the front and then a nice orange and nutmeg on the finish.  The best part of the beer is the lingering flavor that does not get bitter or sour.  You will remember this beer long after you have taken your last sip.

Let me tell you who should buy this beer: chicks.  Honestly, if you are a girl and you want to impress this guy, bring a bottle out and say, “Oh this beer? I just saw this and thought it looked like a good abbey style tripel”.  You had him at beer.  You don’t have to deal with the bitter hops of an IPA or the chocolate/coffee/tar stout, but you still look awesome for suggesting an interesting brew that is basically Blue Moon on steroids.

You may agree with Gary and I can’t blame you.  He has impeccable taste and a well-versed palate.  He is also the nicest al-Qaeda operative I know.

Brewmaster’s Rating – Natalie Portman in that scene in Black Swan.

Ename: Gary’s Review

First off, Ename has a clear-cut advantage over Karmeliet.  There is this scary green bottle that the Karmeliet comes in.  I can’t help but think one thing when I see a green bottle: Rolling Rock.  Thankfully I can tell you Karmeliet stands hands and feet above that lower level beer.  John’s beer is Karmeliet though; therefore, I won’t dwell too much on my guest brew reviewers beer, simply be pleased to see the wonderfully beautiful bottle Ename comes in.  The color of this tripel is a darker copper color.  It really doesn’t develop much head either on the pour.  This was fairly surprising as I had it after the Karmeliet which produced a lot of head.  The smell that arises from a freshly pored glass is very faint.  I get hints of apple, pear, and an overwhelming smell of honey.  It almost has a little bit of an apple cider citrus smell to it.

The taste is exceptional.  It’s almost sort of strange as you get a very boozy apple cider feel to it at the start of the taste.  This taste however melts away and lingers on the tongue.  That isn’t where it stops though, some where towards the end you get a reminder that you are drinking alcohol when the slight hoppy feel kicks in at the end.  This little hint of hops doesn’t let you forget for a while that you were actually consuming an alcoholic beverage.  Some how this old school recipe has a different but similar taste to the tripels I’m very familiar with.  I’ve never had a tripel that had such a mellow feel to it.  The tripel feel does come across somewhere in the middle of the tasting.  Therefore, there is at least one thing I have to agree with when it comes to this tripel.

It would be great for impressing chicks or chicks looking to impress dudes.  Pull out this bottle with a girl/guy who loves beer, tell them the history of the abbey that was once a castle and abbey, but was then burned down.  Then let them taste the boozy apple cider like tripel goodness, and they’ll be impressed with the fact they can enjoy something that has been around for hundreds of years.  I would definitely recommend buying this beer; however, don’t be surprised when you think it’s sort of a good tripel and not the best one you’ve ever had.

Teacher Grade: B

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