In my younger days, I drank solely domestic, light beers. Natty, Bud, Coors, Miller. Then I went to Europe and spent a year drinking mostly Carlsbergs (pilsners), Tuborgs (lagers), and Hoegaardens (witbiers). Oh, those are delicious.
Then I came home and flatly, snobbishly refused to drink domestic beer as much as possible for nearly a year.
Then my friends and I started going to Spike’s, which is probably the only true beer pub in San Luis Obispo (if you ever find yourself on the Central Coast, you should go there. And also go to Central Coast Brew and get the Chai Ale if it’s available). At the time, Spike’s had a list of 40 beers (about half on tap, half in bottles). They’d give you a little card and each time you tried a different beer, the server would mark the appropriate number on the card and once you finished all 40, you got a free t-shirt.
(We added it up once — the beers on the list rotated and weren’t always priced the same, but essentially, those shirts cost around $240-260 each, not including tips and the food that was often consumed with the beer as well. So we started joking that these basic cotton t-shirts were the most expensive things in our wardrobes.)
That was how I started trying domestic beers again, as well as different styles like IPAs (Firestone Union Jack), oatmeal stouts (Sam Smith’s Oatmeal Stout), Belgian strong ales (Delirium Tremens), and so much more. They always had selections from Chimay, Duvel, and Unibroue and we’d save those for last when working on our cards — even though none of us, at the time, really knew anything about those breweries and the quality of their beers. That was my introduction to Belgian strong ales, including dubbels and tripels — which was our assignment for this round of Into the Pint Glass.
I almost never drink dubbels or tripels — they’re not super common in San Diego (compared to IPAs and pale ales, at least) and I’ve learned that it’s easy to forget that those beers have high ABVs. So I was looking forward to trying something new and different, and found a bottle of Tripel Karmeliet at my local bottle shop. The guy working there told me it was a good one.
He was right.
From Brouwerij Bosteels brewery in Belgium, 8.4 ABV.
Aroma – very fruity (berries) without seeming too sweet
Color/appearance – golden. I may have poured it wrong because it had a super thick head and I have no idea if tripels are supposed to have that or not.
Flavor – delicious. As the aroma promised, it was fruity but not overly sweet (like you tend to get with double or triple IPAs). Very carbonated (almost like champagne) with a nice full mouthfeel.
Overall – I’d definitely like to drink this again, but would need a really good reason to spend $13 (yeah, it’s a 25.4-ounce bottle, but…)