Behind another gorgeous label from Brasserie De La Senne sits Jambe de Bois, a tripel brewed in honour of Belgium's 1830 revolution. "Graah!" yells the peg-legged old codger astride the cannon. "Aieee!" cry the big-hatted Dutch soldiers beneath. I'm expecting something rather more po-faced from the 1916 centenary beer I believe one Irish brewery is planning. For shame. This is how it should be done.
The first thing that strikes me about the beer is its brightness. Not in the sense of clarity -- there's lots of haze and floaty bits here -- but the vibrant orange hue, like someone sneaked a vial of tartrazine in. Little by way of a head remained after a minute or so, just a patchy adolescent's beard of foam.
I don't get much by way of aroma, just a faint grittiness from the yeast, which doesn't bode well. But the flavour is superb. There's a light touch on the booze as it's a mere 8% ABV but it has a big juicy jaffa orange heart that makes it incredibly drinkable and almost thirst-quenching. A rising hop bitterness comes afterwards but the finish is all about that slightly herbal honeyish quality you get in really good tripel.
Interestingly, the label doesn't list sugar among the ingredients. Perhaps an all-malt recipe is the secret to full-flavoured tripel. I won't pretend to know the answer. I do know I want more Jambe de Bois: a beer that does Belgium proud.
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