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Jul 1, 2014 08:50 PM

Bruery Trade Winds Tripel

I didn't like this beer when I first tried it, which was many years ago. I recently picked one up on sale, figuring I'd give it another shot and was quite impressed. Rice makes up part of the grain bill, giving the finished product a much lighter body than a standard tripel, which gives the beer a deceptively refreshing quality. The ABV is still pretty big, 9ish%, but you'd never know it thanks to the light body. It's seasoned with Thai basil, which imparts an almost lavender-like floral note. Definitely worth a try if you see it in your area. Not too pricey either, I paid $9 for a 750.

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  1. Great beer perception, Josh. I live in Japan, where rice has been a common beer ingredient for more than a century. What rice does is more than just lighten beer, it also gives it a quicker finish due to the slightly elevated acidity it causes. I am not a huge Bruery fan, but this one sounds exceptional from your description, and worth keeping a lookout for it.

    11 Replies
    1. re: Tripeler

      Excellent point. Another great attribute to this beer is the drier finish. It really reduces the sticky mouthfeel one normally gets from so many tripels.

      1. re: Josh

        Well, I believe most Tripels from Belgium have large amounts of rock sugar (candi sugar) which make them drier than can be expected.

        1. re: Josh

          I have been able to taste a few American tripels and it seems to me there is a misunderstanding of the Belgian version. Some Belgian breweries do use sugar (or fructose), but it is to raise the level of alcohol, not to sweeten the beer. I've never tasted a Belgian tripel that was "sticky".

          1. re: ThomasvanDale

            Most American Tripels tend to be too sweet and lack a lot of the nuances of the Belgian versions. Allagash makes a decent one and La Fin Du Monde is always a welcome treat for me. In the end though this is not a style Americans seem to excel at.

            1. re: MVNYC

              Thanks for the helpful information. Perhaps off-topic, but I've had several lagers made by Moonlight Brewery in California. Not because they were exported, but because the brewer's daughter was going to university in Utrecht and he stopped in a pub (in Amsterdam) with a carton of his beers. I thought they were excellent and very representative of the European versions. Perhaps someone who knows him (Brian Hunt is his name) could persuade him to try to make an authentic Belgian tripel.

              1. re: ThomasvanDale

                Moonlight makes some of the best lagers in the country. I used to see it occasionally at beer bars in California. Their Czech Pils and Schwartzbier are the two I remember being excellent American versions of two other styles Americans seem to have a hard time with. We don't get it New York which is unfortunate.

                1. re: MVNYC

                  Well, at least California is not that far away for you. Mr. Hunt's daughter seems to have finished school here so the chances that he will visit again are not very good.

                  However, as it happens, I'm thinking of exploring the western part of the Czech Republic possibly next spring or summer. Or possibly even this autumn if KLM puts Munich or Prague on sale.

                2. re: ThomasvanDale

                  He's a good brewer of lagers. Some of his other styles are less successful, IMO. Diacetyl seems to be common in some of his ales. He makes some pretty weird experimental beers from time-to-time, but I haven't had one of those that I've liked.

                  His Death and Taxes is an excellent schwarzbier.

                3. re: MVNYC

                  Agreed 100%. That's one of the reasons I was pleasantly surprised by the one from Bruery, though one could also argue that it's not really much of a tripel, too. Maybe more inspired by a tripel. :-)

                  1. re: ThomasvanDale

                    I'm more referring to the perceived mouthfeel of the maltier body. It's strictly relative to the lighter mouthfeel of the Trade Winds Tripel. Perhaps "sticky" wasn't the right adjective, but I can't think of a single tripel I've had that I would describe as "refreshing" in the same way I would describe a lighter-bodied beer.