Beer Review: St. Bernardus Tripel
Drink if you like: Orchard fruit, doughy bread, cider, global harmony, Marvel comics, meat-adorned serving vessels, and Arithmetic.
According to brewing historian Michael Jackson, the first golden strong pale ale associated with the term “Tripel” was brewed by Hendrik Verlinden of the Three Lindens brewery in the early 1930s. This occurred at a time when ale brewers were struggling to compete with ever-popular pale lagers from Plzeň, Czech Republic. Verlinden, the only secular brewer allowed to carry the Trappist Beer designation assisted the famous Trappist brewery, Westmalle, in creating this golden strong pale ale. This beer was originally released under the name Superbier. In 1956, the head brewer of Westmalle, Brother Thomas, added more hops to the recipe and renamed it Tripel. The term is now applied by a large range of secular brewers to strong pale ales in the style of Westmalle Tripel.
The St. Bernardus version of the Tripel is arguably the most well-known secular beer of this style. Its beautiful qualities and flavor profiles converge into a single harmonious, yet complex Superbier.
St. Bernardus Tripel pours smoky orange/pale yellow as small particles of yeast suspend before settling to the bottom of the vessel. A dense plume of whipped foam sticks around long enough to appreciate as it recedes into a net film. The aroma of apple cider, bananas, and alcohol esters are overthrown by a thick Belgian yeast resilience. Hints of cracker and biscuit-like malts also make unpretentious appearances in the nose. The flavor is doughy at the forefront. Unripened orchard fruit and earthy hops stabilize the Belgian yeast temperament and add to the complexity. The mouthfeel is light and very drinkable for such a strong beer. The alcohol feel is just enough to gently warm the palate with each drink.
St. Bernardus Tripel combines a mild fruity and tartness, steady malt foundation, and delicate bitterness to make it one of Arkansas’ true Superbiers.
You can find this Superbier at the following beer-loving places:
Colonial Wines & Spirits – Little Rock
Springhill Wine and Spirits – North Little Rock
The Bottle – Fayetteville (mix pack)
Springhill Wine & Spirits – North Little Rock (mix pack)
Liquor Mart – Fort Smith (mix pack)
Shamrock Liquor Warehouse – Fort Smith (mix pack)
In Good Spirits – Fort Smith (mix pack)
County Line Liquor – Springdale (mix pack)
We gave this beer 4 diamonds