There’s a very strong argument out there that the best beers in the world come from Belgium. The region is famous for its unique brewing history that dates all the way back to 9th century AD. In a time when strict religion ruled the land, monasteries (or abbey’s) quietly sprouted among the countryside. The monasteries were mainly inhabited by hermits turned monks and in the case of the Affligem Abbey, 6 ex-knights who were cast away as punishment because of their violent lifestyle, to live a life of religious solitude.
A common trait of these abbeys were the ales they produced own their own using nothing but the finest malts, hops, and artesian water which was cultivated in the monasteries’ fields. The unique, fruity and flavorful yeasts cultured created a beer that was new yet so refine within the European landscape of the time. Nicknamed “The Burgandies of Belgium” because of their intense flavor robust body.
Affligem’s Tripel, which has received gold in the World Beer Cup in 1996, 2004, and 2006 is the perfect example of this special class of beer. Historically, barrels of beer that were marked with 3 X’s signified the strongest offering a brewer could make (or in this case, a monk), usually in a pale ale format. Affligem’s version is a great example from a very well respected brewery that was originally founded in 1076. That’s over 900 years ago! Lets review it:
Appearance: Huge, delicious head. Very white. Left a suffocating coat of lacing on the glass. A tell tale sign of a well made beer. Orange amber hue and very hazy. Some wild carbonation happening and when I poured the second glass, I noticed some tumultuous yeast activity: particles that were settled at the bottom of the bottle are now swimming freely in the glass. Very visible and inviting if you’re into that sort of thing .
Aroma: Very sharp nose. Fruitiness of the yeast definitely up front. Light hop scent and signs of sour apple. Spicy. Clovey.
Taste: Tangy. Citrusy. Gets boozey as it sits. It clocks in at 9.5% ABV. Peppery hop flavor and goes down a bit thin. A bit dry too but not bad…accentuates the malts in this case which are quite bready. Real nice though.
Final Thoughts?: Really awesome. If you want the experience of drinking a quality Belgian Tripel then here you go. A solid tripel and one that hides the alcohol content well. Would go really well with some nice cheeses and crackers.