PREDICTABLY, NEW BELGIUM’S core marketing message leans upon its Belgian values, with this 7% brown ale arguably serving as its cornerstone. It is ostensibly in the dubbel category, featuring Belgian yeast, minimal hops (IBU of 20 middling for the style), and a broad, complex malt profile (Carapils and C-80 two notables). Naturally, though, it is an Americanized version, being heavier on the chocolate malt, lighter on the mouthfeel, less intricately spiced, and more amber in color, etc. But still fairly inviting and well balanced, putting some sweet candy aroma atop slightly herbal flavors, banana, and toast. Fairly dry finish, decent head and some lacing. It does the job, in short, but struggles to leap off the shelf when stocked alongside authentic imports, some of which now are just as easily had. Great respect is due, however, for being a pioneer of monkish brews in America; since being introduced in 1991 its distinctively ringed neck (shades of Westvleteren) has accumulated an admirable array of domestic and international medals. Fair odds that it remains the most popular dubbel-style ale produced in the States, and one could do far worse.
Served: 12 oz bottle
Note: Their Trippel (two p’s) is equally if not more laudable, particularly when considering its even more rarefied competition.