Vail red white & brew: ‘God gets behind Belgian beers’ |

Vail red white & brew: ‘God gets behind Belgian beers’

Vail Daily staff reportsnewsroom@vaildaily.comVail, CO Colorado

VAIL VALLEY, Colorado -Belgian beers are God’s gift to mankind. Patient, flavorful, blessed beer styles have been floating out of Belgium since the Middle Ages, thanks almost entirely to the obviously anointed Trappist monks, bound by the Rule of St. Benedict to “live by the work of their hands.” Apparently these monks have found a way around part of the normal monk practice of asceticism, which involves abstinence from some of God’s greatest boons, including sexual activity and alcohol. Thank God they did.Apart from the ubiquitous Belgian wit (Coors’ Blue Moon, New Belgium’s Mothership), Belgian beer styles are overlooked by many American craft breweries, which perhaps lack the spiritual acumen to produce such angelic brews. Denver’s Great Divide, however, has dipped its fingertips into the Belgian holy water, and it makes several beers you won’t find at other breweries – Belgica, a Belgian-style IPA; Saison, a Belgian “farmhouse ale”; and a Double Wit, whose description politely asks the drinker NOT to add fruit to the brew. Now the brewery has taken a shot at a Belgian-style “Tripel” ale — traditionally a type of blond “pale ale” but with a fruity complexity completely untouched by American-style pale ales.Great Divide’s Tripel weighs in at 9.3 percent alcohol – deceptively high given this beer’s medium body and divine drinkability. The high alcohol content is appropriate for the style, however, as legend has it that the word “tripel” referred to the number of marks used on Trappist beer barrels to indicate strength – one mark indicating the weakest beer, three indicating the strongest.I’ve never had a Belgian-style beer I didn’t like, and Great Divide’s beautiful, straw-colored Tripel is no exception. Fruity, sweet-bread flavors coat the tongue and strengthen the spirit, especially when served up around 45 degrees. New Belgium’s Trippel (different spelling, same idea) has a bit more flavor in my opinion, but Great Divide’s version has more of the lovely warming character imparted by a higher alcohol content with no other trace of having a higher alcohol content. Grab a few of these seasonal Great Divide bombers while they’re in stock, and see why God gets behind Belgian beers.You can find this beer at Eagle Ranch Wine & Spirits.Aaron Butzen, Daily staff writer

Give me 10 words or so and that’s plenty of time for me to explain in vivid detail why my wife and I don’t like your white wine. What can I say – we’re red-wine folks, and it takes a special white to make us say anything other than “check, please!”Taking this bottle of Alamos Chardonnay for a test drive during a cul-de-sac barbecue last week wasn’t exactly the perfect situation – after all, pairing a wimpy white against burgers and chicken legs on the grill is like trying to get your chess-club kid to play offensive line on Midview High’s football team.But, all things considered, this Argentine is a taut Chard – relatively fruity and sweet but not at all cloying or sticky as some lesser bottles can be. Even so, one thing I can’t help asking when sampling a far-away bottle is this: Is it better tasting – or a better value – than an American equivalent? In this case, there’s nothing to recommend this Chardonnay against a few dozen excellent, similar wines from California, Washington or Oregon. If you’re at all worried about carbon footprint (and it haunts me night and day), you’d be just as well grabbing a bottle of Clos du Bois or even a Beringer at this price point.All things being equal, though, the Alamos is a bright, fruity Chardonnay that would be a delightful accompaniment to a grilled pork chop or light pasta dish. Just don’t expect it to blow your socks off – and who needs super-robust as we yet cling to summer in the high country?You can find this wine at Avon Liquor, Eagle Ranch Wine & Spirits and West Vail Liquor Mart.Alex Miller, Summit Daily editor

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