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Dec 19, 2009 04:48 PM

What to pair with Belgian Trippel?

I enjoy pairing beer and food, and I like trippels when the mood strikes, like Westmalle Trippel or La Fin du Monde, but I can't think of a food pairing that has ever really struck me as perfect with a trippel. Anyone have any favorites?

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  1. Other than cheese I really can't think of anything. I'd ask myself how could I cook with a Tripel. What sauce could I make with it or could I use it in a stew. Nothing really comes to mind. It too strong and sweet IMO. So again I'd pair it with a cheese.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Chinon00

      Cheese is an excellent idea. I would add that it may pair well with certain kinds of desserts (fruit-based) or salty prepared meats like cured ham or salami.

    2. Michael Jackson always mentioned asparagus.

      14 Replies
      1. re: Jim Dorsch

        The Beer Advocate website lists these as suggested pairings: Cuisine (Mediterranean) Cheese (sharp; Blue, Cheddar, pungent; Gorgonzola, Limburger) Meat (Pork, Poultry)

        1. re: Whisper

          No offense to you, but I don't see how BA's recommendations are useful. They're so vague as to be meaningless. To say poultry, generically, implies that chicken, duck, goose, or turkey would be good, regardless of preparation. Coq au vin, southern fried chicken, and peking duck have radically different flavor profiles.

          Belgian tripel strikes me as pretty tough to pair with food. The sweetness, high alcohol, and fruity esters all pose different challenges for pairing. Cheese is probably easiest.

          1. re: Josh

            The chart I have suggests pairing with spicy cajun food (sweet with spicy) for cheese they suggest a St. Andre which is easy to find.

            1. re: burntwater

              Personally I can't stand high-alcohol beer with spicy food. I think it's one of the more unpleasant pairings out there.

              1. re: Josh

                Thanks Josh, it's good to know high alcohol and spicy food doesn't work for you. It keeps things in perspective.

                1. re: burntwater

                  Obviously YMMV, but for me the problem is always that the sensation of alcohol fights with the heat from hot food. Usually you want to pair spicy things with light-bodied, lower-alcohol beers. The high alcohol beers are good for things like cheese.

                  1. re: Josh

                    Not sure if this is what you mean, but I cringe every time I see a recommendation for a light lager to go with spicy food. Bold food demands a bold, hoppy beer. Now body wise, I think of it more in terms of whether I'm going to feel leaden after the meal. I realize that drinking a pint of a 9% IIPA is going to do more for that than a 6% IPA. Celebration Ale is a favorite, but it's pretty heavy for drinking with any meal.

                    As for the tripel, cheese definitely. Other than that, my ideas are all for summery, grilled foods (chicken satays, that sort of thing).

                    1. re: ted

                      Sorry Ted, but I'm going to have to disagree with you here.

                      First, I didn't say "light lager" - I said light-bodied, low-alcohol. "Light lager" is a style of American beer that is insipid and boring. You can have a light body and low alcohol (e.g. witbier, berliner weisse, gueuze) without having a light lager.

                      Second, I disagree with your assertion about boldness. I'm actually not sure what bold tastes like, ;-), but food with a lot of chile heat isn't necessarily well-served by beer with a lot of alcohol and hops. Obviously there are exceptions - spicy food with a lot of cilantro and citrus can pair well with a beer that has a citrusy hop profile, but even in that case high alcohol isn't what you want.

                      1. re: ted

                        Boldness with spicy foods I agree with but hops are a no-no as far as I'm concerned because I find that hops intensify the heat making for an overall unpleasant experience. I like richer low hop beers with spice to cut the heat. e.g. Chimay Grande Reserve.

                        1. re: Chinon00

                          Interesting take. I basically agree, but I'd add alcohol heat as another problematic element. With spicy food I always think in terms of cleaning and refreshing the palate, so I tend to like sours or witbiers (and sometimes lagers, depending on the food and the lager).

                          1. re: Chinon00

                            I don't entirely agree with your hops/heat analysis. I think a good regular IPA is a great complement for Indian or Thai food. I find the carbonation of a good IPA to be a good palate cleanser and the hoppiness to bring out the spices of the food. I'd go for a Racer 5, a Stone IPA or a Hop Devil from Victory with spicy indian or thai

                            1. re: chuckl

                              I think it really depends on the hop varieties. To say simply that "hoppy" works with Thai spicing is to really over-simplify hop profiles. You certainly wouldn't want a Fuggles-heavy brew with a Thai curry.

                              1. re: chuckl

                                To each his own but I find that hops have an affinity for grease and fried foods.


                                1. re: Chinon00

                                  taste is certainly subjective, and even more so when you match the taste of a particular food with beer, and I respect all people's tastes. And I'm an unabashed hop head, which is also a consideration. Also, I'm not big on a lot of heat; I prefer more subtle spices But those caveats aside, I find that the American hop varieties like Chinook and Cascade bring out the flavors of Thai food quite nicely, Indian too. But I wouldn't turn up my nose at a great lager with spicy food either, Moonlight Reality Czech or Victory Prima Pils come to mind, but I'd settle for Trumer in a pinch. I think we're in sort of uncharted territory matching American craft beer, with their more aggressive flavors, with world cuisine.

            2. Garrett Oliver suggests cassoulet, sausages, wild game birds, schnitzel, saltimbocca, prosciutto with ripe brie, Thai chicken with basil and asparagus.

              1. I love eating some aged Gouda with it.

                2 Replies
                1. re: saeyedoc

                  How about the national dish of Belgium; moules frites?

                  1. re: tofuburrito

                    Pere Noel would be pretty awesome with moules frites, it's hoppy but subtle

                2. For my beer column over at Serious Eats, we did a series of Thanksgiving pairings. We really liked the tripel we tried (from Flying Dog) with sage and mushroom stuffing. Very nice with the herbal flavors of the food.