Brewery: Brasserie d'Achouffe (Achouffe, Belgium)
Type: Belgian Strong Pale Ale / Tripel
Normally, if the LCBO comes out with a new Belgian ale, I pick it up without even blinking and rarely need any additional convincing. Then of course there are beers like La Chouffe, beers that absolutely demand to be purchased. Why, do you ask?
As is often the case with Belgian ales, this one was poured into my trusty Duvel goblet. (I'm not alone in my preference for this glass; a recent BA forum asked what our favorite glassware was, and Duvel's unique chalice was the overwhelming response). La Chouffe pours a deep golden, with hints of orange when held out of the light. Mildly opaque. Left a magnificent two-inch foamy head, which receded into a nice half-inch patchy froth. Sheets of lacing with every sip. An extra-big bottle meant for extra sampling, which made for an enjoyable evening.
Nose is apple, pear, honey, peach, floral hops, pale Belgian malt, yeast.
This brew is making for an excellent evening sipper. Almost too sweet, but it's too damned tasty for me to care. Honey, apple, pear, candied fruit, floral notes, coriander and spice are the big players here. Finishes dry, with a nice floral hop touch. Long finish. This brew reminds me a great deal of Unibroue's La Fin du Monde, it's just a great deal sweeter and fruitier than it's Quebec counterpart. I suspect gnomes are the reason behind this.
Medium bodied, with a champagne-like mouthfeel after the first pour but as I work my way through the 750ml bottle, this wanes quite a bit.
A tasty Belgian strong ale, a great sipper for a quiet night in. Tripels have a tendency to be either very sweet and candy-like, or very dry and peppery. La Chouffe definitely leans towards the former; Duvel and Fin du Monde the latter. My palate still leans towards the former, but I'm finding I'm preferring my Belgian ales drier and more robust as I go along, so for now, La Chouffe falls well within my threshold. In either case, this was an enjoyable brew, and I will certainly be back for another before the season is done. (Grade: A)