Duvel Tripel Hop Beer – What will you be drinking next year?

Peter Morrell votes in this year’s most important European referendum

Before starting here is an anecdote about Belgian beer. Several years ago, and in another life, I won a new client based in a town near Brussels called Aalst. The start of our relationship was a two day session in their offices. After an early flight from London and a long, hot first day in meetings I was grateful for their invitation to have dinner with them in nearby Ghent.

Before dinner we had a drink on the terrace of a bar. The cooling evening breeze that blew across the cobbled square was as welcome as the cold beer I had trustingly asked them to recommend. It was thirst quenching and delicious and I drunk it quickly, like an English session ale. As we stood up to leave my legs gave way and I sat down again, I had just met a beer called Duvel, the Flemish word for devil.

Duvel have been producing their standard beer for many years, it is double hopped with two varieties, Saaz and Styrian Goldings. For about ten years they have also produced a Tripel Hop version, changing the third hop each year.

The 2017 third hop is being determined by a Europe wide referendum. Beer lovers are being invited to taste the beers from six earlier years and vote on their favourites. I was at a tasting in London recently for the UK Polling Day.

A very interesting trend has been developing amongst beer drinkers is that they are choosing their tipple based on hop variety, rather like wine drinks asking for sauvignon blance or tempranillo. So over time the names of the hops used will start to become prominent of bottle labels.

After sipping a double hop beer as a control sample I started on the six varieties, here are the details

Amarillo 2010

This is an American hop which introduces both aromatic and bitter qualities to the beer, in the mouth it has both floral and spicy flavours. And least a pleasant finish.

Citra 2012

The craze for American style IPAs is being driven by a hop like this, which is grown in Washington’s Yakima Valley. It introduces aromatic and delicate fruity tones to the beer and stands on its own very well.

Sorachi Ace 2013

This is a rare hop variety from Japan, it gives the beer a fresh, exotic flavour with floral and spicy elements. Its flavour is totally unlike U.S. or European hops.

Mosaic 2014

This is a very powerful hop with strong aromas and bitter tones. It makes the taste of the beer very complex and it’s easy to detect tropical and citrus fruit flavours. It has a crisp feel making it a good summer beer.

Equinox 2015

Another aromatic hop with clean tastes of grapefruit and lime to the fore and a background of green pepper. A good match with hot curries.

HBC 291 2016

This hop is so new that it hasn’t been properly named yet. It offers intriguing notes of black pepper. roses and lavender.

At the end of the evening my top three were Citra, Mosaic and Sorachi. The final results will be announced by Duvel later this year.

For fun you can run your own private beer tasting with a few friends. The six beers are available in a pack from Beer Merchants go to www.beermerchants.com/duvel-tripel-hop-tasting-box to order

For more information on Duvel visit www.duvel.com/en