A tiny shield on the bottle label states that this week’s beer, Affligem Tripel, won the Beer World Cup in 2008. Football fans amongst us all know that this was not a world cup year (the beer cup is every two years) but a Euro championship year (without England!)
Affligem won the gold medal beating no less than 41 other entrants, including Westmalle Tripel in the category Belgian Style Tripel. Spain beat Germany in a close final to initiate four years of world dominance. Did the German team and Trappist monks have similar feelings regarding their respective defeats. To a certain extent, yes. Affligem Tripel is a very good example of how a tripel should be: blonde, relatively high alcohol and complex; it’s just that Westmalle is even better, more complex and should have won through. (Maybe the judges had an off day.) Germany were not better on the day but will always be a favourite to win any football competition. So I think neither the German football team nor the monks had any long (or short) lasting self doubts.
Back to the beer; a good thick head which slowly decreased leaving a nice tracing on the glass; close your eyes and you almost see ripe fallen pears lying on the orchard earth. I said almost, the spicy yeast element in the forefront is from the brewery.
Pours a hazy golden yellow. The first taste is of mild honey which slowly turns more grainy, allowing the ripe fruit to come through. A good dose of cloves gradually blending into a mild bitterness and an increasingly dry finish. As I said, a typical tripel and well worth a try .
For the record; after WWII the Affligem monks were no longer able to produce beer (the occupying Germans had dismantled the brewery!) so they licenced the nearby De Smedt brewery in Opwijk. This was taken over by Heineken in 2000 and renamed Affligem.
Through Heineken the Affligem beers are widely available throughout Europe; 80% of the production is exported.
Cheers! Happy beer drinking