As a Colorado native, I’ve had my fair share of exposure to the craft beer scene, but it wasn’t until about 2007 that I really fell in love with beer. I had started working for a corporate restaurant that had a surprisingly large bottle selection, the majority of which were authentic Belgian beers. I still remember the first Belgian I ever tried, a dark strong by the name of Nostradamus, and turning to my phone after the very first sip to start learning more about this new world of beer I had stumbled upon. My fascination continued, and I eventually took a job at a Belgian beer cafe in Capitol Hill, where I was surrounded by people who were just as passionate as me about this delicious nectar. It was there that I first heard the word “Cicerone” and really began to realize that this awesome field was something I could actually make a career out of. One day as I was studying for my next round of tests in the Cicerone Program at a local bar, I met a guy who knew a guy who was about to open a brewery, and suggested I look them up. A couple of months later, I was brewing my first beer ever (Cougar Pale Ale) and I knew I was hooked.
After the success of the first beer that was designed by the other assistant brewers (the So Fresh and So Cream Strawberry Cream Ale), I begged my brewmaster to let me have a crack at designing one, and after he relented, it didn’t take long for me to decide that it needed to be one of the beers that started it all for me, the Belgian tripel. Looking up recipes for some of my favorite tripels, like Unibrues La Fin du Monde, Triple Karmeliet, and of course the iconic Westmalle, helped me shape my personal recipe, while my brewmaster helped me perfect it. Wanting to insert a little bit of my Colorado pride into the beer, we decided to put in 40 pounds of locally sourced wildflower honey for a sweet twist on a classic style.
This tripel really is the bees knees, so you should get your buzz on soon!
I find the sweetness and floral notes from the honey compliment the spicy and fruity tones of the Belgian yeast perfectly. We ended up using 40 lbs of Colorado Rocky Mountain wildflower honey during the whirlpool, but the rest of the recipe is very simple and traditional, which was something Gina and I both agreed on. We’re both disciples of Jamil Zainasheff and his work on The Brewing Network, and one of the things he preaches is to keep it simple with quality ingredients and let them do the talking. We used an authentic Belgian yeast from a Trappist brewery that has terrific spicy and fruity complexity. The beer comes in at 7.6% ABV, 35 IBU and 6 SRM. We serve it in a Belgian tulip for $6 and offer $1 off for Happy Hour. Gina did a wonderful job on the recipe as well as during the brew day, and I hope you can come in soon to try it. Cheers!