DE HALVE MAAN STRAFFE HENDRIK is another classic Belgian Tripel that we have not enjoyed in a number of years. When we found this beer back on the beer shop shelves, you can imagine our excitement! The last time we had this beer is when Riva NV took over the beer brand- (early 2000’s?) As of 2008, Straffe Hendrik (Strong Henry) was being brewed again. It is only until now that we were able to enjoy it and to offer our BrewView here.
The 2013 Brussels Beer Challenge was very favorable to De Halve Maan. The brewery won Gold medals in the following three categories:
Gold medal for Straffe Hendrik Triple in the category Pale/Amber Abbey/Trappist Ale
Gold medal for Brugse Zot blond in the category Pale/Amber Ale / Light Blond
Gold medal for Straffe Hendrik Heritage in the category Flavoured Beer / Wood Aged
As a result, the ‘De Halve Maan’ Brewery was awarded the highest number of gold medals in the entire competition. These prizes contribute to the growing international reputation of their beers and are yet another confirmation of their consistent high quality. During recent years, ‘De Halve Maan’ has become one of the fastest growing breweries in Belgium – which in part is undoubtedly attributable to its continued success in highly respected international competitions.* (Source: De Halve Maan)
BEER STYLE AND COMMERCIAL DESCRIPTION
Style Category: Belgian Abbey-Style Tripel
Straffe Hendrik Tripel is a golden triple with a solid white foam. The aroma is spicy with notes of black pepper, coriander and ginger with a hint of orange.
The beer is firmly hopped with Saaz and Styrian Golding excellence and gets thanks to the subtle blend of six special malts a particularly well-balanced and strong taste.
The onset tends to caramel, and the taste blends with considerable bitterness. In the aftertaste you can taste a subtle hint of banana combined with the prominent presence of citrus.
This triple with has an alcohol content of 9%, thanks to the fermentation in the bottle, a long shelf life.
Spicy seafood coming all the way into their combined with this beer. Straffe Henry also goes well with cheeses such as Camembert or Bruges Blomme. A combination with fruit desserts based on pineapple and mango is also a must.
OUR BREWVIEW ON DE HALVE MAAn- STRAFFE HENDRIK TRIPEL
APPEARANCE / THE POUR:
9% ABV. Poured into a dessert wine glass at 59°F. (This glass shape is also a great beer glass!) We served it at 59°F because we remembered the awesome bouquet this beer has, and wanted to release all the aromatics this beer offers.
The pour is a slightly murky deep golden color that produced a nice 2.5-finger height, white dense head. The head collapsed in a moderate amount of time, what we had expected. It held a nice 1/4″ level during consumption time. The Brussels lacing was consistent, thick and patchy. The meniscus is slow rising.
AROMA / BOUQUET:
Classic fruity, what we call (“bubblegum” bouquet) to it. Wonderful yeast esters that fill up your nose. Simply wonderful.
The taste is rich; great malt – caramel sweetness but is softer than other Tripels we’re had. The hop bitterness is not as prevalent. It almost has a biscuit character to it.
MOUTHFEEL / PALATE:
The mouthfeel on this is very creamy, fluffier, and again, softer than other Tripels. Fills the entire mouth with it’s creaminess. Excellent malty-sweet aftertaste.
FOOD PAIRING SUGGESTIONS:
Cheeses- wash rind, triple cream, blue veined cheeses will pair very well. An excellent option would be to prepare a good charcuterie platter with various types of meats (don’t worry about how salty or rich the meats are- the spicy phenols and the malt sweetness of this beer will cut through the richness.)
Another great beer for Mussels and Pomme Frites. (Add this beer into the pot that the mussels are being cooked in!) Waterzooi, Carbonade Flamande, Paling in ‘t groen.
Caramel Pears Belle Helene, Dulce De Leche, Caramel cheesecake, Grosses Galettes Liègeoises, Gaufrettes.
World Class. Straffe Hendrik Tripel would be a great beer to introduce to someone who has never had a Tripel style beer before.
OCTOBER 2016 BREWVIEW UPDATE: Since we first did our BrewView back on December 9, 2013, we have witnessed that Straffe Hendrik Triple is now regularly available in the Redding, California market. This wasn’t the case a while ago.
Seek this one out for sure. The reputation of this beer is well deserved. This is actually a Triple that would age nicely.
Brouwerij De Halve Maan