Though the golden version of the style wasn’t developed until recently (sometime during the 1900s), Tripels are currently one of the most popular types of Belgian beers consumed around the world. Known for the combination of a delicate, complex flavor and a punch-packing high alcohol content, this style of ale is equally appropriate for a sunny weekend brunch or a toasty evening by the fire.
Brouwerij Corsendonk was established in 1938 in Oud-Turnhout, Belgium, on grounds where Corsendonk monks originally began brewing as far back as the 1600s. After revolutions and wars in Europe shut down that monastary, the tradition was resurrected and there is now a hotel on the property, which also contracts beers and distributes them to the United States.
Corsendonk Agnus Tripel is one of the flagship labels. Brewed with pale malts and top-fermented it is sold in both large format corked-and-caged and capped 12-oz. bottles. There is some bottle conditioning, and when the beer is poured a very active, slightly rosy head forms immediately. The scent of the beer is almost entirely floral, but not at all sweet.
The lack of sweetness is echoed in the taste. While many Tripels have a cloying, overly sugary flavor, the Agnus is almost sharp, with a crisp herbal taste. Only on the finish, which is tinged with a slight yeast tang and hop bitterness, do you realize the front flavors were soft and slightly honey-like. This is a beer that is extremely easy to drink — something to watch with its 7.5% ABV.
Pair Corsendonk Agnus Tripel with any light bite or sandwich, such as eggs, salads, soups or even a burger. This is also a perfect accompaniment for turkey, if you’re looking for a new Thanksgiving dinner brew, search out a big bottle of the Tripel and treat the whole family.
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