Friday, January 14, 2011

Houblon Who?

This is Houblon Chouffe Dobblen IPA Tripel from Brasserie d'Achouffe brewed in the heart of the Belgian Ardennes.  It's a big beer with an even bigger name. But for this beer chick, it's a perfect blend of old-world Belgian sass and new-world, west coast smack you upside the head with some hops. Insert 'Angry Birds' cheer here!

I had the opportunity to sit down at a lunch with Chris Bauweraerts (can't pronounce it), the founder of Brasserie D'Achouffe, the famous 28-year-old Belgian brewery who now acts as the brewery's ambassador, and here's what he said about my delicious Houblon  Chouffe.

This beer was first brewed in 2006 with the American market in mind.  Using three kinds of west coast hops, including Amarillo (which is my favorite hop), La Chouffe brewed a kind of Belgian Double (or Imperial) India Pale Ale, and it was really the first of its kind.  Bauweraerts amends the IPA distinction calling it an 'International Pale Ale' as this style of beer is the marriage of old-world and new-world styles that is sometimes poo poo'd by traditionalists.

I appreciate tradition and can sometimes be quite the purist, however, I love this developing style and felt that this beer was made just for me I think.  Bright and fruity, with complex malty and spicy notes and floral aromatics that starts just like a strong Saison and finishes dry and tight and grassy and citrusy.  Unfiltered, and bottle-fermented, this beer comes in at 9% ABV, which I didn't pick up on because of the supreme balance, but of which I was quite happy upon discovery!

If you love this beer, you should also try some of my other favorite Belgian (or Belgian Style) IPA's. De Ranke XX Bitter, from Brouwerij De Ranke in Belgium, Allagash Brewing Company's Hugh Malone from Portland, ME and Green Flash Le Freak from Vista, CA.