Bitter Sisters' Belgian Tripel Is More Exciting Than Its Name Suggests.
Welcome to On Tap! Each week in this recurring feature, we'll take an in-depth look at one of the many beers now available in the suddenly crowded North Texas brew scene. The goal here is to look at these area beers without our local goggles on and to wonder aloud, “Is this beer good or do I just like it because it's local?” Should be a fun experiment, no? Cheers to that!
This week, we sipped on Bitter Sisters' Belgian Tripel.
Fast Facts on Bitter Sisters Belgian Tripel.
Style: Belgian Tripel.
ABV: 10.1 percent.
International Bitterness Units (IBUs): N/A.
Color: Deep Gold.
Have you heard of Bitter Sisters? My predecessor in this here column reviewed a beer of theirs called Hissy Fit earlier this year. And now we're back again, hollering at our favorite Addison-based production brewery. You might not know this, but Bitter Sisters is known for being a family-focused operation. It's great to know that the family that
prays brews together stays boozes together. Or something like that.
Background on Belgian Tripel.
Tripel fits into a larger category of Trappist-style Belgian ales. OK, first things first: We can use the word Trappist when we describe the style of this category of beer, but if Bitter Sisters or any other brewery were to use the word Trappist in their beer's names, they're kind of breaking the rules because such beers need to come from an actual Trappist monastery. Higher-alcohol beers of this ilk are brewed with a rather aggressive and alcohol-tolerant strain of Belgian yeast that's famous for producing very smooth, drinkable beers that are both flavorful and boozy.
This beer is super clear, giving away almost no indication of the imminent fruit and spice party that'll come later. Unlike some other bottle-conditioned tripels, Belgian Tripel's head dissipates rather quickly, and there isn't much to say for lacing either. But the carbonation remains, so there's that. The head and lacing aren't totally to style, but I suspect that if Bitter Sisters released this in a large-format bottle, it might be a different ballgame.
Belgian Tripel plays nicely in the tripel space from an aroma standpoint. I sense a tickle of orange and spice, something akin to clove. There's a faint whiff of booziness, a warming and comforting sense that invites you in and asks you to take a sip. The ester-y aromas are definitely here, paying homage to the classic Belgian ale yeast used on this beer.
There is a harmonious balance in play between the spices, malt, hops and yeast. There is a spicy note that almost takes over, but in a most-welcoming way. With the spiciness, there's a faint orange and clove flavor, pronounced by the Belgian yeast. This beer is deceptively smooth, and you might forget that it has a 10.1 ABV until you get closer to the end of your first pour and you feel your good time turning in to a better time.
The medium body in place here another nod to how drinkable this beer is despite its high ABV. It helps balance out the boozy notes. Based on style guidelines, though, Tripel is supposed to have little to no warming sensation, and I do get a sense of warming sensation from the high level of alcohol — but certainly not in a bad fusel, hot sort of way. It's a subtle sort of warming. And I dig it. More, please.
In a seemingly endless landscape of fun and original beer names, why did Bitter Sisters name its Belgian Tripel, uh, Belgian Tripel? With other beers from the brewery named things like Busy Body, Cat Fight, Knock Out and Hissy Fit, it feels like the Bitter Sisters' beer-namer was on vacation when this beer came out.
Pedantic name aside, however, this beer does not disappoint. It's a nice beer for autumn with its complex character, warming sensation and lingering spice. It's deceptively boozy, too — a real manty-dropper.
On a scale of 1 to 10, I'd give Bitter Sisters Belgian Tripel a 8.
What's happening in the area brew scene? (Powered by Dallas Brew Scene.)
• Thursday, October 1. Brew-Haha Comedy Series at Panther Island Brewing.
• Saturday, October 3. Third Anniversary at Revolver Brewing.
• Saturday, October 3-4. Texas Beer Camp at Long Road Farm.
• Saturday, October 10. Beer Feast at Flying Saucer (Fort Worth).
• Saturday, October 10. October Brew Bus Tour.
• Saturday, October 24. Audacity One-Year Anniversary at Harvest House.
• Saturday, October 31. Texas Bicycle & Beer Expo at Dallas Heritage Village.
• Saturday, November 7. Untapped Dallas at Fair Park.
• Friday, November 13. 2nd Annual Brewer's Ball at Renaissance Dallas Hotel.
Previous On Tap Reviews:
• Peticolas' Royal Scandal: 10.
• Community's Mosaic IPA: 10.
• Peticolas' Velvet Hammer: 10.
• Community's Barrel-Aged Legion: 10.
• Community's Legion: 10.
• Lakewood's Saint Dymphna: 9.5.
• Peticolas' Lost Epic: 9.5.
• Community's Ascension Porter: 9.5.
• Lakewood's Temptress: 9.5.
• Lakewood's Goatman: 9.5.
• Community's Public Ale: 9.5.
• Peticolas' Thrilla in Brazilla: 9.5.
• Revolver's Blood & Honey: 9.
• Martin House's Imperial Texan: 9.
• Community's Trinity Tripel: 9.
• Peticolas' Irish Goodbye: 9.
• Four Corners' Block Party Porter: 9.
• Cedar Creek's Belgian Dubbel: 9.
• Deep Ellum's Easy Peasy IPA: 8.5.
• Deep Ellum's Oak Cliff Coffee Ale: 8.5.
• Lakewood's Rock Ryder: 8.5.
• Rahr's Bourbon Barrel Aged Winter Warmer: 8.5.
• Lakewood's Raspberry Temptress: 8.5.
• Noble Rey's SteamPunk: 8.
• 903 Brewers' Citra On Top: 8.
• Bitter Sisters' Hissy Fit: 8.
• BrainDead's Gritz: 8.
• Community's Barrel-Aged Inspiration : 8.
• Cedar Creek's Fisticuffs: 8.
• Lakewood's Punkel: 8.
• Four Corners' El Chingon IPA: 8.
• Martin House's Day Break: 8.
• Deep Ellum's GOURDzilla: 8.
• Peticolas' The Duke (Aged 12 Months): 8.
• Deep Ellum's Pale Ale: 8.
• Revolver's Bock: 8.
• 903 Brewers' Sasquatch: 8.
• Peticolas' Wintervention: 8.
• Armadillo Ale Works' Brunch Money: 8.
• Martin House's Salsa Verde: 8.
• Cedar Creek's Spinning Mule Robust Porter: 8.
• Lakewood's Holiday Bonus: 8.
• Lakewood's Hop Trapp: 8.
• Lakewood's Hopochondria: 7.5.
• Three Nations GPA: 7.5.
• Martin House's Rubberneck Red: 7.5.
• Lakewood's Antigoon's Revenge: 7.5.
• Community's Texas Pils: 7.5.
• Lakewood's Zomer Pils: 7.5.
• Cedar Creek's Dankosaurus: 7.5.
• Collective's Petite Golden Sour: 7.
• Shannon's Chocolate Stout: 7.
• BrainDead's Red Ale: 7.
• Community's Razzy Raspberry Witbier: 7.
• Martin House's Gateway Blonde Ale: 7.
• Bearded Eel's Purple Unicorn: 7.
• Shannon Brewing Company's Irish Red: 7.
• Texas Ale Project's Somethin' Shady: 7.
• Deep Ellum IPA: 7.
• Cedar Creek's The Lawn Ranger: 7.
• Martin House Brewing Company's Cellarman's Reserve IPA (Amarillo).: 7.
• Lakewood's Till & Toil: 7.
• 903 Brewers' The Chosen One: 7.
• 903 Brewers' Sugar On Top: 7.
• Martin House's Gateway XPA: 7.
• Armadillo Ale Work's Quakertown Stout: 7.
• Revolver's High Brass: 7.
• Community's Pale Ale: 7.
• Martin House's River House: 7.
• Grapevine Craft Brewery's Sir William's Brown Ale: 7.
• Community's Funnel Cake Ale: 7.
• Audacity's Boss Raptor IPA: 7.
• Collective Brewing Project's Mom Azacca: 6.5.
• Revolver's Ironhead IPA: 6.5.
• 903 Brewers' Trot Line: 6.5.
• Peticolas' Operation Collaboration: 6.5.
• Grapevine Craft Brewery's Nightwatch: 6.5.
• Peticolas' The Duke: 6.5.
• Deep Ellum's Double Brown Stout : 6.5.
• Tupps' Cotton Mill Gold: 6.
• Rabbit Hole's Tweedleyum: 6.
• Rabbit Hole's Off With Your Red: 6.
• Cedar Creek's Elliott's Phoned Home Pale Ale: 6
• Grapevine Craft Brewery's Lakefire: 6
• Armadillo Ale Works' WunderMelon: 6
• Deep Ellum Pale Ale: 6
• Lakewood's La Dame Du Lac: 5.5.
• Deep Ellum's Numb Comfort: 5.
• Four Bullets' Black Jack Brown: 4.5.
• Four Corners Heart O' Texas: 4.
• Audacity's Sunset Boulevard: 4.
• Shannon Brewing Company's IPA: 4.
• Grapevine's Monarch: 4.
• Franconia Wheat: 3.
• Miller Lite: 1.