Ten Top Tripels: #1: Chouffe/ D’Achouffe Houblon Dobbelen IPA Tripel, D’Achouffe, Achouffe, Belgium
Date: March, 10 2019
The Story— We offer this slightly tongue in cheek conclusion to our series of tripels in full knowledge that it just isn’t a tripel ale in any “traditional” sense of the word– except that “traditional” means since the 1950s and Chouffe really did create a true belgian Tripel to blend with their big blast of IPA hops. It also makes a perfect transition between the tripels we’ve been covering and the dozen or so IPAs that are next on the agenda.
It’s also one of the top one or two percent rated beers in our 34,000 beer data base.
When we took our first tour of Lowenbrau about 30 years ago, our tour guide was careful to point out that Lowenbrau was better than other Munich beers because they used imported hops — from the US. That was the first time I really became aware of how good US hops could be. Three decades later, only a relatively small number of Europeans give much respect to the American hop scene. That’s changing in Belgium (no surprise) and Chouffe’s Houblon Dobbelen IPA Tripel is one of the few from across the pond to blend an old world style with new world ingredients.
I thought it was a cross cultural treat that is way out of the box and rated it one of the best beers we’d had all year. Ellie found the hops disconcerting in the clearly Belgian framework. She liked it, but not nearly as much as I did. So: a good and interesting experiment or an international triumph? You decide — we found our bottle at the iconic Julio’s Liquors in Westboro, Massachusetts, but D’Achouffe distributes widely in the east.
The Beer— There’s nothing shy about this beer. Dry pale Belgian candy malt starts it off. US hops are mostly sweet with a late bitterness that blends with the dry chalky bitterness of the yeast.
Value — Good to very good. Belgian beers fetch premium prices, but if you’re not planning on going there, it’s worth the money to see what they’re up to.
Values: “fair” is a good beer at an above market price, “good” is worth the money, “very good” is a bargain, and “excellent” is a steal.