Despite my usually-militant middle-class-ness, sometimes you just have to cross the tracks and try something out-and-out posh. Of course, it helps when you can also wrangle two friends into thirdsing the cost with you.
I have some great memories of standard-edition Duvel; it’s probably my most-embarrassing early Diary entry (I noted it down as a lager, for fuck’s sake; the shame, the horror), and it was there again in the early days of the photography-habit, on a bloody marvellous night out. So along comes a variant edition of a beer I already like, with a punny name. Honestly, how the hell was I supposed to resist? I didn’t even try.
And it was lovely, it was. Deliciously fragrant — with tempting wafts of things like vanilla, plum and jasmine — it was one of those beers where actually taking your first sip involved some determination, because just sitting back and enjoying the nose was so good. Thankfully, once you did dip in, the flavour didn’t remotely disappoint. It had all those flavours, given zip and zest by the lively effervescence.
I really should dig out the scan and photo for the Estrella ‘Inedit’ I mention in the Diary entry itself. That was another attempt at a poshified beer complete with a little booklet of notes and history, and was supposedly brewed in collaboration with the chefs at el Bulli, reputedly some superswank 3-Michelin-star restaurant — again, militantly middle-class; I’d never heard of it. But it was pants, it was completely and utterly worthless nonsense. Full of marketing and brandwank, but totally lacking in substance or point or interest. This thing, though, this ‘Tripel Hop’, avoids that problem entirely and basically did justify its price tag.
Verbatim: Duvel ‘Tripel Hop’ 16/2/11 $45/750ml ÷ 3 w/ Peter & Ollie 9.5% Sexy dark version of the labelling; one of this pleasant run of hopified-x, done with class. Utterly gorgeous, pale gold with a big white head. Delicious aroma; vanilla + plum skins and all sorts of goodness. Delicate on the palate with the usual racing bubbles. And I love a good punny name. Compare the included booklet with the Estrella Inedit one (which I rediscovered yesterday, tidying my room) and the latter really is a pile of wank; this one’s nicely done. It’s all jasminny and lush, like some sexy millionairess’ garden.