Thursday, November 26, 2009


There I was, at an amazing San Francisco restaurant called BAR BAMBINO, with a bunch of wine drinkers. We were celebrating Ari’s 37th (38th?) birthday, and in highfalutin Italian-restaurant gatherings of couples such as this, it’s rare that the collective mood turns toward beer. Bottles of red wine were quickly procured, even before I had a chance to peep, “b-but they have Belgian beer on the menu….!”. It is true, even in these craft beer-explodin’ times, that Italian restaurants such as this limit their beer selection to Peroni, Heineken, Fat Tire, Newcastle and Anchor Steam (the last if you’re lucky). So when I saw several beers I’ve never tried before – including WITKAP PATER TRIPEL – I knew I’d have to do a surreptitious, under-the-radar, in-between-glasses-of-wine order, and try not to upset the social apple cart any more than I had to.

This TRIPEL from BROUWERIJ SLAGHMUYLDER in Belgium is a perennial shelf-sitter at the stores I frequent, meaning that I always see it around, but I never hear anyone talking about it. That’s a shame, because it’s a good ‘un. Classic tripel smell and mouthfeel – very clean, yeasty and biscuity. A little more sweet than some of these can be, with the taste of honey and the ever-present tingling yeasts. On a scale of “thin” to “thick” I’d have this one at about a 3, far closer to the thin side of the scale. Really carbonated, and that’s just fine. It was really a relief to sneak one of these in, and let me say it again, I have no problem with wine at all, it’s just that when someone deigns to throw a beer like this on their menu, you sometimes just have to open up the wallet and let your worries go. 7.5/10.

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