The Beer Nut: Duvel introduces Duvel Tripel Hop
Duvel is the quintessential Belgian-style ale.
It's a beautiful golden ale with a huge head of foam. It's one of the easiest to find Belgian ales in stores, and probably the most recognized Belgian beer among beer geeks. That's why, in the beer world, it's always big news when the Duvel-Moortgat brewery releases a new beer under the Duvel label.
Duvel is the oldest and original. A draft version came out about two years ago and now comes the company's latest, Duvel Tripel Hop, a 9.5 percent alcohol by volume, strong, golden ale. This latest release is only the second time the beer has been sold in stores.
Although the description of Duvel Tripel Hop sounds similar to the commercials where an announcer brags that Miller's beers are "triple hopped," don't worry –– it's not the same.
The beer itself, available in a 750-milliliter bottle, corked and caged similar to Champagne, is a worthy holder of the Duvel name.
If a beer could be sexy, this would be it. It also smells fantastic, with a citrus, fruity aroma.
If you're a fan of the original Duvel, don't expect the Tripel Hop to be a stronger version of the beer. It has a totally different flavor. At room temperature, it has an almost apple cider quality to it. It's crisp and has a nice sweet balance from the malts and the yeast.
Despite the high alcohol, this beer can sneak up on you. It takes amazing brewers to brew a beer with such high alcohol without imparting an alcohol flavor. It may be the easiest drinking beer with 9.5 percent ABV ever brewed.
In an interview with beer-pages.com, Hedwig Neven, master brewer at Duvel, described the brewing process of the beer.
"The hops impart their specific aroma and flavors to the beer," Neven said. "For the brewing of Duvel Tripel Hop, we selected three prestigious varieties of hops: Saaz from the Czech Republic, Styrian Goldings from Slovenia and Amarillo from the United States. We also use the dry-hopping technique, which consists, in addition to conventional hopping, of adding additional hop cones at a later stage. That makes the character of the beer very special: a rich range of impression on the palate, additional hop flavors and –– the most perceptible characteristic –– a pervasive zesty bitterness."
Duvel Tripel Hop is a winner of a beer, but I still prefer the original Duvel. The beer, which was first brewed during World War I, is a classic everyone should try at least once. The carbonation is reminiscent of Champagne, and it is close to being a perfect beer. Like the Tripel Hop, this beer is amazingly drinkable. It's creamy and crisp at the same time. It's just one of the best beers in the world.
It's also a perfect beer for food. The high alcohol (8.5 percent ABV) allows it to stand up to almost any dish. The hops allow it to handle spicy dishes, while the flavors are subtle enough not to completely overwhelm lighter fare. A perfect pairing: Duvel with spinach pesto on pasta.
Another notable aspect of Duvel is the huge head of foam. Duvel's logo glasses are shaped like oversized tulips so the huge head from a proper pour does not run over the rim.
If you have a question about how to properly pour the beer, it is demonstrated on the label. Duvel brewery's website also goes into a detailed description on what they call the "pouring ritual."
So, if you buy either Duvel or Duvel Tripel Hop, you'll be in for a treat. Both are fantastic and world-class beers.
Norman Miller is a Daily News staff writer. For questions, comments, suggestions or recommendations, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 508-626-3823. Check out The Beer Nut blog at http://blogs.wickedlocal.com/beernut/ or follow the Beer Nut at his Twitter page at www.twitter.com/realbeernut.