BREWVIEW ON SINT CANARUS TRIPEL

Ahhhhhhhhhhhh yes! Choosing to BrewView SINT CANARUS TRIPEL was another no-brainer! It’s the second beer out of four that we will be BrewViewing for the month of November. When we found it on the shelves at Perry’s Liquor & Craft Beer in Livermore California, we were blown away! Little did we know at the time, how rare picking up this bottle was going to be. Read on…

ABOUT “DOKTER CANARUS”

Photo: SintCanarus.be

Photo: SintCanarus.be

The year was 1988 (give or take as the Sint Canarus website states) is when Piet Meirhaeghe (Dokter Canarus) was bit by the brewing bug. As a self-proclaimed beer lover and dedicated beer taster, Piet set out on the journey to make artisanal beers that would suit his palate.

With the initial help from a family member to lend some cooking pots, a newly purchased book on brewing beer, and a gasburner, Piet became a homebrewer. Like many professional brewers starting out, he brewed his first batches of beer in small quantities. According to Piet, his first 10 liter batch of beer was “appreciated” and his brewing journey continued on.

5 years later, he was able to acquire an old laundry kettle with a 70 liter capacity from a friend. As time progressed, and as Piet’s vision to increase brewing capacity became clearer, It would seem that he had divine connections along the way that would help. He made the move to Gottem, where he rented out a house to store his ‘brewery’ and perfect his craft. Later he was able to acquire the space of his landlord’s former dry cleaning shop.

It was during this time that he met the manager of the former Brouwerij RIVA in Dentergem at an arts and crafts fair. He was able to procure the use of the 270 hectoliters from this conversation to sharpen his brewing skills, gain insider knowledge, and become a professional brewer. He eventually became in charge of all yeast, fermentation and refermentation operations, including the microbiological control at the brewery.

SINT CANARUS HUISBROUWERIJ

It would turn out that working at Brouwerij RIVA would be very beneficial to Piet. In search for a larger brewing faciltity, he found a charming old cottage in the village of Gottem in 1999. The layout of the home was ideal for expansion- it contained a chalet which would be perfect for beer tasting.

While working at RIVA, he convinced them to part with some old 200 liter brewing kettles, thereby increase his brewing capacity even more. As the popularity and demand of his beers increased with the local communities, he knew it was time to take his brewery to the next level. After some renovations to his cottage and another divine business connection, Piet built and grew his brewing capacity to 800 liters- with a gasburner and speed-controlled mixer.

The current brewery is equipped with a lauter tun made from an old milk tank. The heat exchanger and the fermentation tanks (two 1.250 L and one 3.000 L) are new. In October 2011, he acquired a bottlefiller at Smisje – brewery (Mater). And in January 2012 he purchased a nice bottle labeling machine from Germany. (Source: SintCanarus.be)

Facebook.com/dokter.canarus

The Sint Canarus HuisBrouwerij is an excellent example of a small, artisanal brewery making excellent beer. Currently, the brewery offers tours, tastings, and even “Beer Seminars” conducted by the good Dokter himself on the merits of beer and good health! There is a café adjacent to the brew house where local cuisine can be enjoyed with the delicious Sint Canarus beers. For aspiring home brewers, Dr. Canarus even allows them to bring in their homebrew recipes for their beers to be brewed in a small but professional environment. The brewery allows homebrewers to make up to 100 cases of their beer- how cool is that? They will even put labels on the bottles, and ship them around the world… Talk about a beer evangelist!

FINDING SINT CANARUS TRIPLE- NOW RARE IN THE USA

As we alluded to earlier in this story, when we found the Tripel on the shelves at Perry’s Liquor and Craft Beer in Livermore California, we had no idea how rare the bottle we were holding in our hands actually was. On the back of the label, it said that the importer was Twelve Percent Imports out of Brooklyn, NY. It also mentioned that the beer was brewed and bottled by De Proef Brouwerij (using Piet’s brewing recipe- which was a good sign.) We’ve always enjoyed beers from De Proef. When we investigated Twelve Percent’s webpage to read the Sint Canarus product info, there was none to be found! We immediately wrote to Dockter Canarus to gain clarification. He informed us that the Sint Canarus beers are not being imported to the United States at this time, and since this past summer, the Tripel is being brewed at the Gottem City location. This fact made our purchase all the more rare and cherished!

BEER STYLE AND COMMERICAL DESCRIPTION FROM SINT CANARUS

Style category:  Belgian Tripel

7,5 vol% alc., refermented in the bottle (or in the keg). The best-selling Sint Canarus-beer: a golden tripel ale. Perfect balance, not too strong, with a fine bitterness, fruity nose, beautiful sturdy head.

Format: 11.2 oz bottle, 20 L or 30 L keg. Color: dull bronze, frothy white head.

Tasting Notes: balanced aroma of citrus and herbs; creamy, mango, grapefruit, balanced blend of citrus and spice, dry finish.

OUR BREWVIEW OF SINT CANARUS TRIPEL

APPEARANCE / THE POUR:
7.5% ABV. Poured into a tulip-shaped glass, and served at 55°F. Pours a deep golden, peach color. The slightly off-white colored head pours an easy 3 finger height, with large and small bubbles; dense and rocky. The head sustains very well. The rim color says the same, no variation.

As the head collapses, the Brussels lacing it leaves behind is very thick and even. (We ensured this was a “Beer Clean” glass). The meniscus is medium to slow rising.  There was a  cloudy haze to the beer, due to the bottle conditioning and extremely heavy yeast sedimentation.

Although you can’t really see it in the pictures, there were very large yeast chunks (floaties) in the beer was we poured in into the glass. Some people find that objectionable; we find that to be a GOOD thing… it adds character to the beer. Nearly 10 minutes later, the head still sustained between a 1/4″ to 1/2″ inch in height, with very dense lacing (almost spider web thickness) on the glass.

AROMA / BOUQUET:
Excellent fruity esters of apricot, peach, mango, and that sweet “bubblegum” bouquet that many Belgian Tripels are known for. In the mix are fresh bready, Belgian yeast aromas,  with a gentle and appropriate hop herbal spice bouquet in the background. A touch of citrus rounds this out nicely.

TASTE:
Sint Canarus Tripel is one of the reasons why we truly enjoy small breweries. They can afford to make extremely tasty beers using the very best raw ingredients, without concern of worrying the cost accountant. You get that wonderful initial biscuit, yeasty flavor mixed with fresh fruit- peaches, mango, blood orange, and grapefruit- from the hop balance. There is a very faint diacetyl (butterscotch) flavor, which is not a defect.

MOUTHFEEL / PALATE:
Creamy mouthfeel, with a medium carbonation level. The effervescence level however, has a nice gentle “sparkle” to it when you put your ear to the beer. This beer fills the entire mouth with its creamy viscosity, almost like if you took a spoonful of melted vanilla ice cream into your mouth. There is a dry citrusy finish that lingers. How do you combine creaminess and dryness at the same time? Sint Canarus Tripel does just that. Awesome.

FOOD PAIRING SUGGESTIONS:
APPETIZERS: Charcuterie, blue veined or triple cream cheeses- go for a rich Abbey or Trappist.
ENTRÈES: Moule en Frite, Waterzooi van Vis, chicken with endive with a side of mango chutney.
DESSERTS: Rijsttart, peach cobbler with vanilla ice cream, cheesecake with mango extract.

OVERALL IMPRESSION:
When we found Sint Canarus Tripel on the shelves at Perry’s Liquor & Craft Beer, we immediately thought of our post on our Facebook page from March 4, 2014. We mentioned that we would like to get our hands on the Sint Canarus beers after we watched the segment on the Belgian TV show, Tourneé Generale. We are so glad we did.

The drinkability of this beer is fantastic! This is another Tripel to introduce to friends trying this style of beer for the first time. It is a complex beer, but yet at the same time, easy on the palate. It also challenges more experienced beer drinkers to tap into their sensory evaluator side and really delights all your drinking senses.

Being one of our favorite beer styles, this Belgian Tripel is one to seek out! And since the beer is not being imported into the United States at the moment, you need to get all the bottles you find on the shelves! Another must have, this beer will evoke great memories. A great example of why Belgian beers are the epitome of brewing excellence. World class product.

SINT CANARUS HUISBROUWERIJ:
http://SintCanarus.be

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