Taste Test: Blind Squirrel Belgian Tripel (bottle tasting)

20150525_102749If you live in North Carolina, you have more than a passing familiarity with the squirrel.  Particularly the Eastern Gray Squirrel, that annoying rodent you spend time avoiding as it darts out of the woods in front of your car and back into the woods as you drive to the grocery store.  The Eastern Gray Squirrel is so ubiquitous in North Carolina it is the official state mammal.  It therefore makes a ton of sense that a western NC brewery would name itself after the critter. (Here are all the official symbols of NC. My favorite is the Plott Hound. It was bred to hunt wild boars.)

Blind Squirrel Brewery is in Plumtree, NC, a small community a little over an hour northwest of Hickory.  If you have no idea where Plumtree is, don’t feel bad I’ve lived in North Carolina my whole life and didn’t know where it was until I knew of this brewery.  The brewery opened in 2012 at the Vance Toe River Lodge.  I have had a few of their beers and I’ve loved them all, but we are here to talk about their Belgian Tripel.

When you pour it, it has a nice golden color with a good initial head on it.  The head dissipates rather quickly, but as you drink a nice lacing is left on the glass.  It has a pleasant aroma of plums, raisins, bananas, and a clove/cinnamon mixture with a little Belgian yeast funkiness.  There is very little hops aroma (as they use a minimal hop bill).

It does weigh in at a healthy 9% ABV (it is a tripel), but you only get a hint of the alcohol at the beginning.  The alcohol does come through more as it warms up, however.  You get a lot of fruit sweetness, mostly dark fruit (raisins and plums), bananas, and a little tangerine/orange/citrus touch.  It has a nice medium body with just enough carbonation that is soft on the pallet and tongue.

For a beer with as much heft as this one has, again it is a 9% beer, it is really kind of light and refreshing.  Overall, this is a quality version of the tripel.  I really like this beer and plan to drink it often and if you are in western NC you should seek it out.  It should not be hard to tell if your local bar has it.  The tap handle is a squirrel with a hat, sunglasses, and a cane (He’s blind.  Here is how he got that way.).