The Belgian tripel is a unique abbey style of ale that combines a lighter malt profile, compared to the much darker dubbel and quad styles, with the distinct flavors of Belgian yeasts. Despite the lighter color, the addition of Belgian candi sugar results in a full beer that typically has high alcohol content. American craft brewers were quick to embrace this style and make variations of a tripel that combine the traditional Belgian flavor profile with American hop varieties, resulting in a unique beer. One of the flagship beers of the Somerville Brewing Company, aka Slumbrew, is Trekker Trippel, a Belgian Tripel brewed with jasmine flowers as well as Chinook hops from the US and Motueka hops from New Zealand. Trekker Tripel is available on draft, in 22oz bombers and now in 12oz bottles.
Slumbrew Trekker Tripel pours an amber red with a mild and quickly dissipating head. The color is a little darker than most beers of the style, due to the addition of caramel malts to the kettle. The smell is strong, reminiscent of a classic Belgian yeast, with some pineapple and apple, along with some grassy notes from the hops. The fruity esters typical of the yeast are also strong on the palate along with some spiciness. The malt is present in the backbone, with hints of caramel, balanced by a solid hop bitterness. The hops add a hint of pine and citrus, but the major flavor is still from the yeast. For a lighter colored beer the mouth-feel is very full, this is a sipper, and there is some residual sweetness in the aftertaste. Sipping Trekker Tripel slowly is a good idea, the beer weighs in at a full 9.5% ABV, and the warming alcohol is evident, but not too strong considering the potency of the beer. Overall the beer is very balanced and tasty, I’m glad they have it in 12 oz. bottles now, as the bombers are a lot to handle at the high ABV. Hoppy Boston score: 4.5/5.