Going to downtown San Diego during the day is one of my favorite ways to spend an afternoon. Strolling down the avenues, people-watching, and hitting good bars in the sunshine and breeze, it's a ticket to relaxation station. First stop? The always enjoyable Neighborhood....
Westmalle Tripel, 9.5% ABV: It has been several years since I have had this beer, so I have been looking forward to retrying it all month. Smooth and balanced. A true classic in this Belgian style. A welcoming nose of ripe tree and tropical fruit (peach, pear, banana), sweet yeast, candy, spice. Nice bitterness on the finish. I could drink this time and time again. There is a reason it is so loved and respected, it's delicious!
For a history of Westmalle, check out The Brew Club's great writeup!
Duvel (Golden) 8.5% ABV: Meaning "Devil" in Flemish, this beer has been known to lead me to the dark side more than once. My first taste of Duvel was 8 years ago in New Orleans. A fellow bartender offered it to Voodoo priestesses she loved it so much. That's a joke, by the way.
From the first sip, I was hooked. While I have discovered MANY beers since then that I might choose first, Duvel will always be classic for me.
Vibrant floral aromas with more rounded notes of vanilla, yeast, white pepper. On the palate, crisp and refreshing, yet with enough depth to make you consider it more than just a session beer. At 8.5% ABV, I wouldn't recommend you doing that anyway!
Chimay Tripel 8% ABV: Apricot, lemon, white pepper sprinkled on melon (think canteloupe and honeydew). A squeeze of lemon, cinnamon, and spice. A little clove emerges on the palate. PLEASE let this beer warm a bit before drinking. When served too cold, it has sharp edges, and the carbonation stabs at your tongue.
Despite ALOT of notes on the nose, the palate is underwhelming. I found this fascinating, to have so many aromas, yet so little flavor. There is some bitterness on the finish, which is nice, but I just found myself wanting more....
After a glorious beer afternoon, it was time for an Aperol Smash (a glorious cocktail with pressed grapes, mint, vodka, and Aperol) and all you can eat King Crab legs. Tuesdays are definitely shaping up.