Palm Breweries, Belgium
$9.99/750 ml bottle; also on draft at select beer bars
Profile: Since 2003, Palm Breweries of Belgium has been making four beers based on recipes that go back to the monks of St. Peter’s Abbey in West Flanders. What’s most interesting is that the blond, dubbel, tripel and white are all brewed with gruut — an ancient herbal mixture (traditionally made with sweet gale, yarrow and marsh rosemary) that was used before hops.
Steenbrugge Tripel is particularly suited to the gruut addition. Not surprisingly, it seems to add a spicy herbal character that fits nicely with the clean malt and aromatic hops. At 8.7 percent alcohol by volume, it’s strong but quite refined and drinkable.
Pair with: Like most tripels, light, spritzy, champagnelike Steenbrugge would be a good candidate for a New Year’s toast. Try it with turkey with herb stuffing, pheasant or quail. Beer-pairing guru Garrett Oliver recommends matching tripel with the richness of cassoulet, a perfect dish for a cold winter night.
Bob Townsend is editor of Southern Brew News, a bimonthly beer publication distributed throughout the Southeast and found online at www.brewingnews.com/southernbrew.
E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.