This is the last of the group matches and sees two UK breweries up against each other: Lost & Grounded from here in Bristol and Solvay Society from London.
The former is a brewery with a particular focus on Continental beer styles and is perhaps best known for its Keller Pils — very much a buzz beer of the summer of 2018, despite its refreshing straightforwardness. The latter is an intriguing operation run by a Belgian and dedicated to brewing “modern beers abstracted from classic Belgian styles”.
We bought both beers from Beer Merchants via mail order:
- Lost & Grounded Apophenia, 330ml, £3.45 per bottle, 8.8% ABV
- Solvay Society Tritium, 330ml, £4.05, 7.5% ABV
There was no hope of anything approaching true blind tasting at this stage but, as in previous rounds, Ray poured and presented the beers to Jess without saying which was which. She’d never had either before, as far as she could recall, and certainly doesn’t know either well enough to identify them from taste.
On pouring, both had similar levels of carbonation but Solvay Society’s beer looked slightly darker in colour.
Jess: Right, well, these both smell and taste like proper tripels. I’d be surprised if both weren’t using the same yeast, and if that yeast isn’t the Westmalle strain. To be honest, they’re incredibly similar. If I have a complaint it’s that they’re both a bit on the sweet side. They’re lacking the crisp finish I love in Westmalle. They don’t have that balance of richness and bitterness that I get from the tripels I really like, although maybe that’s just how my palate is reading things today…
Ray: Fortunately, all you’ve got to do is decide which of the two you prefer.
Jess: True. Well, I have a mild preference for this one. [Lost & Grounded.] Only because it’s not quite as sweet tasting. It’s a very close thing.
Ray: I agree, they’re pretty well indistinguishable, if you ignore the difference in colour. And a bit… Well, sickly is too strong, but heavy, somehow. This one [Solvay Society] is a bit spicier, maybe, but perhaps I’m getting that impression because I know it’s advertised as a pink peppercorn and rye tripel. It’s also maybe a touch heavier, despite having a lower ABV. They’re both good beers, though — clean, bang on style.
Jess: I wouldn’t be disappointed if I’d ordered either of these in a Belgian bar.
Ray: So, my vote is for… Just, very narrowly… Lost and Grounded! Which means it’s the winner.
- Westmalle vs. De Dolle
- Lost & Grounded vs. Karmeliet