100 Words: In Love With Tripel

Illustration: a Belgian tripel in the glass.

We keep thinking about Belgian Tripels.

We’ve said that West­malle Tripel is, with­out doubt or debate, so shut up, the best beer in the world.

But maybe Tripel is the best style.

A good Tripel demon­strates how a beer can be bal­anced with­out being bland or pal­try. Sweet­ness reined in by bit­ter­ness, rich­ness met by high car­bon­a­tion, with spice and spicy yeast pulling it all togeth­er.

Com­plex with­out dra­ma. Sub­tly lux­u­ri­ous. Afford­able art.

Yes, very afford­able: you can still buy some of the high­est-regard­ed exam­ples for less than three quid a bot­tle, and a suit­able glass for not much more.

6 thoughts on “100 Words: In Love With Tripel”

  1. It is true that when I lived in Lon­don, I missed Tripel so much. There is not enough brew­eries mak­ing this style of beer even though con­sumers love it!
    My favorite one was maybe Anspach & Hob­day pink pep­per and chardon­nay bar­rel-aged, a jew­el. Of course, the Bux­ton bel­gian serie is breath of fresh air too.

  2. It’s inter­est­ing that the fetishi­sa­tion of hops (vari­eties, com­bi­na­tions, amounts, when they’re added to the process) seems to be the cut­ting edge of beer at the moment, but, the Tripel, like lots of clas­sic old world styles, hops seems to be much more a uni­fied part of the whole.

    Per­son­al­ly, I steer towards crafty hop bombs, but I keep find­ing myself fin­ish­ing of a ses­sion with a Tripel or an Orval.

  3. It is a mar­vel­lous style, and West­malle is the supreme exam­ple of it – although I do like the new-wave exam­ples, I guess start­ed by Tripel Karmeli­et.
    Although I love hop-for­ward beers of pret­ty much all types, I do love bal­ance, and although I would say that I pre­fer Orval, I’ll prob­a­bly accept Tripel as the best style.

  4. Per­haps I just haven’t drunk enough tripels, will have to put that right. I have to say though that I am very par­tial to a Bel­gian quad.

  5. I’d love to do a taste test some time with a few tripels and Batham’s Bit­ter – seri­ous­ly, it remind­ed me more of a tripel than of any oth­er British beer. (A ses­sion-strength tripel, grant­ed.)

    1. It does have a sim­i­lar colour and bal­ance, now you come to men­tion it.

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