With my honeymoon to Belgium quickly approaching – and with my wife and I being big beer geeks – we were bombarded with bottles of all shapes and sizes, with many of them coming from the country we would soon visit.
Affligem, while a solid Belgian tripel, is a bit misleading. The beer promotes itself as an abbey ale (one being brewed at a monastery) but is actually a subsidiary brand of Heineken brewed at an offsite brewery. I guess it’s kind of like Blue Moon promoting itself as an independent craft beer, yet being owned by MillerCoors. Shame.
Whatever. It’s rude not to appreciate a gift.
The beer pours a gorgeous crystal clear sunset orange. There’s a very bubbly head on top but it doesn’t last for long. The beer almost looks like a champagne with tons of carbonation streaming up the middle and sides of the glass. The lacing falls off fast but the alcohol legs stick around. It really is a gorgeous looking beer.
It’s an unmistakable classic Belgian tripel on the nose. There are big pear and banana notes with a really effervescent, bubbly smell. There’s definitely a lot of malt and sort of a muted sweetness as well.
The body is very light and crisp and there’s a huge wash of carbonation throughout the mouth. As that fades on the back, a really sweet bread and strong maltiness shines through, as do flavors of green apples, pears, bananas and a little clove. At 9.5%, you don’t get the alcohol at all. It’s got a very dry finish.
While it’s mass-produced and funded by a major European brewer, Affligem Tripel is still a pretty solid beer. It’s lighter yet rich and full-flavored, not boozy, easy to drink and easy enough to find. The best tripel I’ve ever had? Hardly, but for one that’s inexpensive and easy to find, it’s a solid choice.