I never really gravitated towards Belgian beers.
They’re interesting to me, but if you offered me any style of beer I wanted I can’t say I would choose a Belgian. This is not to besmirch their spicy, yeasty and often fruit peel flavor and is more a reflection of my own palette.
Basically they just don’t ‘get me where I like to be got’ to quote a dear friend and drinking buddy of mine.
Tripel Cafe however is a Belgian unlike the others and it had a number of things going for it that made me want to review it. Firstly it said ‘green coffee beans’ on the label, which struck me as interesting as I had never tried anything but a roasted coffee bean, so I had no flavor profile to match it to. Secondly the label is fricken sweet and eye catching. Thirdly it’s from Southern Tier, recipients of the coveted ‘Never Had A Bad Beer From Them’ award from yours truly.
Southern Tier has this to say about their thought process for this beer: “This series is all about experimenting with unusual brewing ingredients. Tripel Café uses green coffee beans, orange peel, and coriander – brewed with Belgian yeast for an 8.8% Belgian Tripel. This is the fourth in our 750ml Belgian Style series.” and honestly they nailed it completely.
This beer was just full of great taste from start to finish! It poured a nice almost wheat color and there was a slight amount of sediment or ‘concentrated flavor’ as I like to call it. It had the tell tale spicy, yeasty smell that belgians have.
First sip there was that classic spicy flavor that comes from Belgian style beers. There was also a light orange peel flavor, not too crazy about that, reminded me of the whole ‘orange slice in your Blue Moon’ thing which I don’t care for. The taste didn’t stop there though, I noticed a definite banana flavor in there which might just have been my imagination I am not sure. There was an almost Trappist tasting yeasty quality which was very fitting for the beer. It had a nice bright and clear taste to it and the finish was nice and smooth with a big alcohol kick at the end. All of this was experienced in that one initial sip and it just got better the more I drank.
To say this was a complex tasting beer is a huge understatement.
I had naively thought of the green coffee beans to have some coffee flavor to them, but none was present in this beer. Don’t get me wrong I wasn’t expecting a big coffee taste as I know full well coffee gets its flavor from how it’s roasted just as much as the beans. I guess I didn’t notice what the green coffee beans brought to the table though? They say that they added them to ‘bring a light coffee bitterness to compliment the citrusy hops, spicy phenols, and yeasty floral esters’ and now knowing that and looking back I can see how there was a slight bitterness that leveled the whole thing out. I wouldn’t say they stand out though.
I love Southern Tier’s offerings and this was a great one! At 750ml there was just enough beer for a glass for me and a glass for my Beligan beer loving fiance. I could have gone for another glass after the first, which is just about the highest praise I can give to a style of a beer that I am rather indifferent about.
Tripel Cafe earns my first ‘A’ on the site, mostly for making me reconsider how great a Belgian can be!