Friday morning had me in a quandary. As I was bundling up for the weekly beer run, I was wondering if I should stick to the winter seasonals or go random like I’m used to. I didn’t know and the decision hadn’t been made even as I strode through the door of the beloved Morris Beer Store.
Sweet, beautiful Alessa was behind the counter and said Hi as I walked in. I returned greetings and ducked around to the craft shelf as usual. I noticed that they had at least ten bombers (magnums?) of Sam’s Infinium still available on the shelf, but Gail, the Beer Maven, was busy on the phone and unavailable for conversation about it.
Down the row I went, scanning up and down. Nothing jumped out at me. But towards the end, in the bomber section, I eyed, once again, a beer I had seen for the last three weeks which had piqued my interest. It was from New Holland, the guys who make Dragon’s Milk. This beer was called Beerhive Tripel. The label depicted some mash stirrers and honey dippers. The label said:
ALE BREWED WITH HONEY & GINGER.
The High Gravity Series.
Around back, the label stated:
Little John’s local bees create a wildflower honey which lends a sweet, earthy complexity to this traditional style beer. A snap of ginger provides a refreshing finish.
And judging by the label’s statement of 8.47% Alc by Vol. I had made up my mind. This was the beer of choice and we’ll see how warming it would be. Winter be damned.
I grabbed two bottles and winced at the $8 price-per-bottle. The trip up to the register had focused my mind on financials. The sight of Alessa and her sweet smile made me lose my train of thought. It was a great day.
The beer went into the kitchen fridge.
Friday night, I selfishly partook of a chocolate stout, to get a feel for the taste of the homebrew which I would be preparing Saturday afternoon. Scheduled was a self-concocted recipe for a chocolate milk stout.
Saturday rolled into town and we brewed beer in the kitchen, my wife and I, with family members seated as if for a concert. A lot of laughter and comments on the smells and spills and mess made for a great time.
Finally, with everything cleaned up to my wife’s satisfaction, it was on to the brew review and the taste of a tripel style of beer. The one thing I remember from a video I saw a while ago was that a tripel style of beer was triple the malt. I don’t know if that’s really true, but we’ll see.
I grabbed the first bottle of Beerhive and popped the cap.
The beer poured a beautiful orange-red in color and brought up a good half-inch head of thick, creamy off-white foam. The bubblation was vigorous with tons of micro-bubbles percolating to the top through a perfectly clear liquid. The aroma was slight, but bore scents of sweet malts and a red fruity note.
The first sip was nicely bodied and had a slight sweetness to it, bringing to mind a minimal flavor of Belgian with it. Towards the back of the throat was a little twinge of tartness that punctuated the swallow. That twinge just may have been the ginger that was advertised on the label.
The beer felt slick in the mouth along with the sweetness in each sip. Hmm. The honey was at work, I presumed. The beer had a good amount of malts in it, but it was neither heavy nor full. It was perfect for this taste. The sweetness seemed to caress the sides of my tongue with each sip, and the light maltiness carried the taste home. At the back of the sip was slide right down the gullet. No definitive hop snap, no massive carbonation crispness, just a nice ride down the throat.
Sitting at nearly 8.5% ABV, this beer has absolutely no taste of alcohol in the mouth. The space heater in the stomach remained off. This is a beer that could really sneak up on you over the course of an evening. Delightful in taste, but deadly at the end. Reminds one of a Black Widow Spider, this one cloaked in orange-red hourglass, emitting mists of fruit and honey to any unsuspecting approaching male.
As the sips continued, the tongue became more inured to the returning visitor and sent the brain signals that what we were having was a sweet libation with no strings attached. The tongue said, “Let’s have a lot more of this nectar.” The brain said, “You’re gonna kill me up here.” By the bottom of the first bottle, the effects of the hidden alcohol were being felt.
This beer is somewhat deceptive in its presentation to the senses. A rather light body is shown during the pour and in the glass and a wonderful bubble performance, while the taste denotes a beer of sweetness but with complex flavors. Almost a beer that should come out of a juice box. The Belgian flavor is present at first, but then disappears after the first few sips.
This beer is a lot like James Bond. Smooth and suave by all appearances, but with a license to kill. It has everything going for it. Looks, aroma, mouthfeel, great taste with a hint of Belgian, a little tartness and a smooth finish. Two bombers would make for a very pleasant evening but with some repercussions the next morning, I’m sure.
Try this beer before and after an intimate dinner with the lady in your life. The resultant evening later on may be one that you’ll remember for a long time. Pleasant to begin with, but more mind opening as the sips go on, this is one beer to have on the “Go To” list for future reference.
Taste: A- > Sweet, slick, deadly. Black ice in a bottle.
Smoothness: A- > A nectar in the “be careful what you wish for” category.
Drinkability: B > After a while, you’re asking for trouble. And you’ll eventually get there.
Bang for the buck: B- > Eight bucks a bomber for taste or spin the wheel for a chance to win a bigger prize.
Wife’s all-encompassing opinion: (Sniff) It’s winey smelling. (sip) Yeah. It’s kind of like wine. Like a… well, not red, but a rosé. (sip) You get a sweetness, I don’t know if it’s honey but, it tastes more like wine… (sip)… to me than a beer. It doesn’t have that… I don’t know how to describe it. (sip) It tastes more like a wine than a beer. I don’t get that burpy feeling. (Why do I write these long-winded reviews when she’s summed the whole thing up right there in a few dotted sentences?)