Tripels are one of the quintessential Belgian styles of beer that helped build the world of beer. Belgium is a land of beer, and some of the world’s best breweries call it home. That’s why their styles have spread across the globe, and North American breweries are making some tripels that rival those made at the Belgian breweries that established the style.
Unlike some styles, the tripel has not officially been around all that long. The first such beer was brewed prior to World War II, and the Trappist brewery Westmalle officially rolled out the tripel name in 1956, according to famed beer writer Michael Jackson. The beer with the name, however, was essentially a strong Belgian pale ale, so the style existed long before. Other great Belgian tripels include Chimay White and Saint Bernardus Tripel.
Like other Belgian brews, it is largely flavored by its yeast. The beers are very complex because of the yeast profiles, with a nice malt backbone, and the strength often pushes near 9% and 10% alcohol-by-volume. While quite boozy, they are dangerously drinkable.
But today, we’ll look at some of our favorite tripels made in North America.
Maine’s Allagash Brewing is one of the nation’s premier breweries and has been since it started in 1995. Its Allagash White is one of the nation’s best wheat beers.
But Allagash Tripel has proved to be one of the best examples of the style made, not just in the US, but across the globe. At 9% ABV, there is a boozy punch to the beer, but it’s well balanced against the nice malty sweetness that carries through.
Allagash also makes a stellar Golden Ale, the Curieux, that also packs a delicious punch.
Belgium is right in this Colorado brewery’s name, so it makes sense New Belgium’s Trippel is one of the best beers.
New Belgium has brewed the Trippel since 1992 and it is a fruity, complex beer that drinks smooth. Don’t take our word for it, though, it won the Gold Medal at the 2021 Great American Beer Festival for Belgian-style Tripel.
La Fin Du Monde might be the best example of a tripel, even of those made across the pond.
The Unibroue makes this ideal example of a Belgian-style tripel from its Quebec location. The brewery started in 1992 and has been one of the best Canadian brewers, offering such exquisite beers as La Fin Du Monde.
Like most tripels, it’s bottle-conditioned and exudes orange and coriander notes. The brewery touts that it has won more awards than any other Canadian beer. Probably for good reason: La Fin Du Monde is really good.
Victory Brewing Company makes a lot of great beers, like Prima Pils and Dirtwolf IPA.
But Golden Monkey is often one of the first beers from the brewery drinkers get to try. Familiar Belgian yeast notes like banana and clove shine through more in Golden Monkey than in many other tripels. It’s still a fairly light sipper for tripels and actually makes a pretty decent entry beer for people who are hop-averse.
But that shouldn’t steer experience beer lovers away. This is a great beer. And Victory has built out a portfolio around it as well, launching Sour Monkey and Tart Monkey versions.
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