Another part of our (hopefully) year-long video project, A Year of Beer. looking at the idea of beer and seasonality - how different styles of beer are more appropriate to different seasons, weathers, festivals and so on. There will also be a bit of beer and food matching thrown in because, hell, we love to eat as much as we love to drink.
This week: Duvel Triple Hop and Smoked Salmon Blinis
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Duvel Triple Hop and Smoked Salmon Blinis
Duvel Triple Hop was a limited edition, dry-hopped version of the classic strong Belgian golden ale. I use the past tense because this was a one-off production, yet to be repeated. It would particularly bloody minded of Duvel Moortgat not to do this again, but as of today, nothing is forthcoming.
Additional dry-hopping with Saaz, Styrian Goldings and Amarillo hops builds on the proven Duvel formula of a strong, pale malt backbone and spirity peardrop quality, adding a bitter intensity that seldom seen in a beer from a commercial brewery. As I've said before, Amarillo hops add a yellow, sunshiney quality to a beer, and that quality is present here. There's a penetrating herbal quality alongside a spicy bittersweetness that really lends this beer the edge. In my book, I'd put it ahead of other "champagne" beers such as Deus and, er, well, pretty much anything else on the market.
Conventional wisdom states that hop characters degrade over time, even with careful storage. I love what time has done to this bottle, and only wish that I had a few more to enjoy.
You'll notice that in the pics at the end, I'm drinking out of the tankard that I was awarded by the British Guild of Beer Writers, who made me their beer writer of the year. I was drinking Shepherd Neame Christmas Ale out of it, which was a delicious malty-sweet ale, with a nice plummy core to it, and a little hop dryness in the end. I wish I had another bottle to review, but as you can see from the final photo, I ended up asleep on the sofa with my son. A better end to Christmas is hard to imagine.