ANDERSON VALLEY BREWING COMPANY’S BROTHER DAVID’S DOUBLE AND TRIPLE are two classic Belgian-style Abbey beers that are excellent examples of the beer styles. Brewed in collaboration with David “Big Daddy” Keene of the much famed TORONADO PUBS, they are a tribute to a man who had a huge part in the early California craft beer scene in educating the public on Belgian beer. We’ve enjoyed these beers since they first came out, and we felt they deserved a BrewView.

Toronado San Francisco opened up its doors in 1987, and Keene eventually bought out his business partners in 1989 to make the Toronado the Belgian beer hotspot in California, if not the entire United States. The San Francisco location (and the more recently opened San Diego location) are considered essential craft beer spots. We’ve enjoyed many a Belgian beer at the San Francisco location since the early 90’s.

*”When we opened up we had two draft beers, and now we have 50. I fell in love with all the different beers, and I wanted people to experience more of them, so I kept expanding,” Keene said.

In the early years, he personally drove empty kegs from the Toronado to the Anderson Valley Brewing Co., filled them up and drove them back, until they finally put their beer on draft.

Keene did toy with making his own brews at one point: “I did about four or five batches (of home brews) and decided that the (Belgian) monks and all the brewers here in California were way better at making beer than I was.”  *(Source: SF Gate- “David Keene / Big Daddy’s beer bar turns 20“)

Since David had a business relationship with Anderson Valley, there was a mutual agreement to have the brewery make a Belgian-style Double for him.  Keene’s wife came to the brewery to collaborate in the brewing process for the first time, and made a “one-off” batch in the late 90’s. According to Anderson Valley’s Brewmaster Fal Allen, the first effort was pretty good, but Keene wanted to make the beer more authentic with more Belgian character.

Before coming to AVBC, Algernon “Fal” Allen was the head brewer of Pike Place Brewing Company in Seattle, Washington. A homebrewer, Fal helped Pike Place Brewing become a “buzz word” in the United States brewing scene. From 1990 to 1996, Fal brewed up some very prestigious beer awards, and gained major recognition from such beer writers as The Beer Hunter Michael Jackson, Roger Protz, and many others.

When Fal joined Anderson Valley Brewing Company in 2000 as its General Manager, he had heard about the brewery’s first try on making an Abbey-style Double for David Keene. “I thought it would be a great idea to try brewing it again,” he told us in our phone interview.

Fal contacted David Keene to persuade him on the idea of brewing a Belgian-style Abbey Double once again, bearing his namesake on the label. Fal mentioned further… “David was open to the idea, but he wanted to be directly involved with the brewing process this time around.”

In 2001, David made the 116 mile drive north from San Francisco to Anderson Valley in Boonville, CA. At the brewery, Fal worked with David with the recipe formulation for the beer that was to become Brother David’s Belgian-Style Double (original label pictured below):

Later in 2001, Anderson Valley Brewing Company officially released Brother David’s Belgian Style Double to a grateful beer drinking public. Not long after, AVBC brewed Brother David’s Belgian Style Triple. That beer also gained much praise and commercial success. “We’ve changed the recipe on the Triple a bit, but the recipe on the Double has stayed the same,” Fal advised us.


If you’ve never been to Anderson Valley (or more succinctly, Boonville, California in Mendocino County), you’ll know that folks around these parts are very keen on keeping these lands pristine and natural as possible. *In 2006 the brewery installed a large photo-voltaic array (otherwise known as solar panels), providing 40% of the breweries electrical needs. Anderson Valley Brewing has been a five time WRAP Award Winner in 2005, 2004, 2003, 2001, and 2000. Waste Reduction Awards Program (WRAP) recognizes California businesses for their outstanding waste reduction efforts.
*(Source: Anderson Valley Brewing Company website)


*Boontling has received worldwide interest as a linguistic phenomenon. A few of the words you might see or hear while in Anderson Valley include: bahl gorms (good food), buckey walter (pay phone), pike (to walk or travel), rookie-to (quail), harp (to talk or speak), horn of zeese (cup of coffee) and Boont (Boonville).

Around the turn of the 20th century, Anderson Valley was a very isolated farming and logging community. To pass the time (and have a little fun at it), the locals began to use self-developed terms. The language originated with the women and children workers in the hop fields and eventually spread to become the spoken word for most valley residents. Today, with most fluent “boonters” in their elder years, the Boonting Club, Historical Society and many local businesses work to keep the language alive. For a full listing of Boontling Terms, (a heelch more harpins), check out their Boontling Dictionary here.
*(Source: Anderson Valley Brewing Company website)


9.0 % ABV. Poured into a open-mouthed Trappist goblet, and served at 55°F. The color is a deep copper / medium brown. The head is a light tan color; tight, dense bubbles, and easily poured a 2-finger height. The meniscus is slow rising, which is very appropriate for this style of beer. After about 5 minutes of it being poured, the head collapsed down to 1/4 of an inch, leaving behind even Brussels lacing in the glass.

The bouquet has the classic aromas of chocolate, raisins, and toffee. The classic fruitiness comes from the Abbey yeasts. The hop aromas in this beer are very subtle and add delicate notes of fresh herbs. Very reminiscent of the classic Dubbels from the Trappists in Belgium.

Immediately, you’ll get dark baker’s chocolate in the taste. That is first and foremost. Treacle toffee, raisins, classic Belgian Abbey-style yeastiness. There is some subtle nuttiness as well. Good stuff. Almost port-like.

The beer fills the entire mouth with its richness. Great carbonation level, there is a slight nuttiness and a nice burnt toffee aftertaste in the finish.

APPETIZERS: Blue veined cheeses, raw milk cheeses, Trappist cheeses. ENTRÈES: Red meats, barbeque, Mongolian beef, Mexican beef molé. DESSERTS: Liège waffles, Speculoos, Crème brûlée, chocolates, chocolate cheesecake, mousses. Cherries, strawberries- the tartness of the fruit will counter balance the sweetness.

Brother David’s Double Abbey Style Ale is an excellent example of the style and what one should look for in a Double / Dubbel. It would be very interesting to do a blind taste test with this against some of the classic Trappist Dubbels… see what you discover! World class, we highly recommend this beer. We purchased it at our local Liquor Barn at a great price. This is one of those gems that needs to be discovered- again and again. Widely available year-round, seek this one out for sure.


BrotherDavidsTriple-BottleandglassAPPEARANCE / THE POUR:
10.0 % ABV. Poured into a open-mouthed Trappist goblet, and served at 52°F. Pours and easy two finger-height head (although not evident in this picture, we were having problems with our camera). The bubbles in the head are very dense, tight, almost an whipped egg white density. The color is light to medium to slightly deeper golden, (classic) and the meniscus is slow rising. Very good sign- very indicative of an Abbey style Triple / Tripel. After about 5 minutes, the head collapses to a 1/4″ leaving behind very even Brussels lacing in the glass.

Initially, you’ll get aromas of  wonderful tropical fruitiness, cloves, banana, a touch of vanilla,  it has what we call the classic Tripel “bubblegum” aroma. As consumption time passes by, the bouquet becomes more pronounced.

The first and the most recent time we tried Brother David’s Triple, we remember it tasting “hot” from the alcohol level. The spicy phenolics are definitely evident. Citrusy, peppery, but this is not an overly dry Tripel. There is a nice hop bitterness to it, but not overtly so.

The effervescence hits the front of the tongue and back and the top of the mouth. It has a smooth creamy texture to it. The finish / aftertaste is a combination of malt and Belgian Candi sugar sweetness, with a hop dryness / pepperiness at the end. You can “feel” the alcohol in this beer- that’s where we remember the “heat” coming from in previous tastings.

APPETIZERS: Soft creamy cheeses, ploughman’s boards, brie, port salut. Havarti. Steamed vegetables, chicken salad. ENTRÈES: Moule en Frite, pasta, seafood, shellfish, chicken, rabbit, pork loin, Paling in ‘t groen, sushi. DESSERTS: Ginger spice cake- (suggestion by Anderson Valley Brewing Company)

Wow… this beer is even better than we remember it being from before! Again, another excellent example of the Belgian Abbey style Triple / Tripel. Along with the Double, we also picked this one up at the Liquor Barn here in Redding, California. We picked it up at a great price, it is another world class beer. Also widely available due to year-round production. Seek this one out.

A SUGGESTION: Sneak these into Belgium, take them to a beer festival there, open them up, and impress the locals!


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