BREWVIEW ON TROUBADOUR MAGMA TRIPEL IPA

Being fans of  Troubadour’s Blond for 7 years now, we were very happy to find their MAGMA TRIPEL IPA on the shelves at LIQUOR BARN here in Redding, California. Hoppy like an American IPA, but with the finesse of a Belgian Tripel, this beer is sure to please the palates of fans of both styles of beer. Below is our BrewView…

ABOUT BROUWERIJ THE MUSKETEERS BVBA

Centuries ago, young men were travelling around singing and telling stories to enjoy people and this way keeping traditions alive. They were called “Troubadours”. Brouwerij The Musketeers wants to keep the production and development of specialty beers alive, which has a long tradition in Belgium, the country of the beer. Its also the intention that the Troubadour-beers explore step by step the world and – as the legendary Troubadours – bring pleasure and entertainment to people.

The brewery was founded in 2000 by 4 brew-engineers, after being graduated from KaHo St. Lieven in Gent, the best known brewing school of Flanders. Their names: Kristof De Roo, Rikkert Maertens, Stefaan Soetemans and Sven Suys. Just out of University, it was soon pretty clear to them that brew-master jobs are not easy to find in the Belgian beer world. Family traditions and brewing secrets are kept closely guarded within the brewing family. Like the real French Musketeers of the 18th century, the 4 friends bundled their enthusiasm and efforts, and created “the Musketeers brewing company”. After investing in some brewing equipment, many experiments in the ‘garage’, and several “try and errors”, the results were a great beer that all 4 brew-masters loved and believed in: a semi-strong BLOND. The first phase of the BIG dream had been accomplished. The challenge now was to produce the beer commercially and get people drink it in restaurants and bars.

First new problem: what name to give their new creation? After many brainstorming sessions, while drinking their new godly beer, the 4 friends settled on TROUBADOUR. The troubadours of the medieval times were young men wandering from village to village, from court to city, bringing with them joy, music, traditions, poetry, history and legends of other places. The 4 brewers believe the Troubadour beer brings the same joy and entertainment to today’s drinkers. Proud of their delicious creation, the 4 brewers, or should we say 4 ‘Musketeers’, want to extend the rich brewing traditions of Belgium not only to the citizens of Belgium, but to the rest of the world as well, just like the Troubadours from the Middle Ages. (Source: Troubadourbieren.be)

BEER STYLE AND COMMERICAL DESCRIPTION FROM BROUWERIJ THE MUSKETEERS & GLOBAL BEER

Style category: Belgian Tripel IPA

Taste: Troubadour Magma is an amber colored beer with the bitterness of an American IPA but balanced with the fruitiness of a Belgian Triple. Enjoy the explosion of fruity aromas from the dry-hopping.

Awards: Troubadour Magma has won the gold medal at Zythos, the most prestigious beer competition in Belgium.  This is an amazing task given that an IPA is a non-traditional beer style in Belgium.  This beer combines the best features of a balanced Belgian ale with the floral hoppyness of a great American IPA. One try and you will thank these Musketeers for being so courageous.

OUR BREWIEW OF TROUBADOUR MAGMA TRIPEL IPA

APPEARANCE / THE POUR:
9% ABV. Poured into a tulip shaped glass, and served at 40°F. Pours a  orangey color. It is bottle conditioned, and of course we poured the yeast sediment into the glass. Since we were used to how their Blond ale produces a voluminous head upon pouring, we poured MAGMA very gently as well. Even so, the head easily poured a 3 finger height (we ensured this was a “Beer Clean” glass).  As you can see, it pours a “Duvel” style head- slightly off-white, very dense whipped egg-white thickness with large and small bubbles. As the head collapses, there is dense thick Brussels lacing in the glass.  After 8-9 minutes, there was still a 1/4″ head remaining. The meniscus is medium to slow rising.

AROMA / BOUQUET:
It has a wonderful fresh herbal hop aroma, (Czech bittering and Simcoe for Dry-hopping) mixed malt sweetness, caramel, slight butterscotch, and of course a wonderful bready fresh-out-of-the-oven Belgian yeast bouquet.

TASTE:
Belgian IPA’s tend to be a bit less hoppy than English IPA’s and definitely less hoppy than American IPA’s. Magma has an excellent hop spiciness, floral hop aroma and a great malt balance. We felt that neither characteristic was fully dominant over the other. There is almost a biscuity sweetness. It does not taste like a 9.3% ABV beer, but it is. And that is not easy to accomplish.

MOUTHFEEL / PALATE:
The carbonation level is medium, it hits the sides and the back of the tongue. Medium bodied, again the finish is a balance of hop bitterness / spiciness, with malt sweetness. You don’t feel the 9.3% strength in the palate. It feels like a lighter alcohol beer.

FOOD PAIRING SUGGESTIONS:
APPETIZERS: Spring mix salads with a good vinaigrette, cheeses of varying types- sharp, blue veined, triple cream cheeses. A nice ploughman’s board with spicy sausages, Belgian endive, crusty bread, etc. ENTRÉES: Burgers and frites! Salt-cured meats- a Pastrami sandwich would be fabulous with this beer. Barbequed beef or chicken. Barbequed shrimp or crawdads on a skewer, Andouille chowder. DESSERTS: Traditional cheesecake with slight hints of Himalayan sea salt, rich vanilla ice cream with heavy caramel sauce. Poached peaches in brown sugar and Troubadour Magma.

OVERALL IMPRESSION:
What we like about Belgian IPA’s is that they don’t try to blow your head off with ultra-hoppiness, with the IBU’s at 1000, etc. Belgians don’t try to claim that their IPA is the hoppiest in the world.  For the most part, we feel ultra-hoppy beers are just overkill to have all the time. Sooooooo many brewers produce IPA’s, it’s one of the most popular beer styles. To us, many taste so similar and get lost in the myriad. In our opinion, there are about 100 IPA’s in the world that are unique, flavorful, and truly characteristic. So as you may have guessed, we’re not fans of IPA’s in general, but Belgian IPA’s are a different story.  At 9.3% ABV, it drinks like a session beer, but with a good punch. We picked up our bottle at Liquor Barn in Redding, California, at a great price. World class, seek this one out for sure, we feel that it will please the pickiest hophead and Belgian beer enthusiast alike.

BROUWERIJ THE MUSKETEERS BVBA:
http://www.troubadourbieren.be/en

TROUBADOUR MAGMA TRIPEL IPA AVAILABLE IN THE USA FROM GLOBAL BEER NETWORK:
http://GlobalBeer.com

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