Defiant Tripel Ale – 9% ABV
The Defiant Brewing Company is a group that I (and my fellow Keg Tap Drinkers) have gotten to know fairly well during our adventures to the local beer festivals over the past few years. These guys are based out of Pearl River, NY which is located just over the state line from northeastern NJ, and just a short distance south of Nanuet. As I said before, they have been a fairly regular stop each time I frequent one of the local beer festivals because each time I sample their wares, I realize their dedication to brewing good beer. And with a name like Defiant you can probably guess they wouldn’t have any thoughts about being average or run-of-the-mill.
Today I’m pleased to be enjoying Defiant Tripel Ale, which clocks in at a healthy 9% ABV. My first thought is that I wonder if these guys can stack up in the Belgian beer department against their Empire State brethren to the north, Ommegang. I’ve had some good experiences with their beers and they have set the bar pretty high (more on that soon). Anyway, this one came in a bomber-size bottle, and had a plain white label on it with simply the name of the brewery and beer on it, with a few minor details. I like how it’s understated. No flashy or fancy artwork on the label, nothing to distract you from what’s inside. Let the beer do the talking, that’s my guess.
Pouring Defiant Tripel Ale into a weissen glass, what develops inside is a light pale straw-colored blonde body with a nice clearness to it. There is a slight haze, but not nearly as much as I was expecting. It leaves a good finger-and-a-half sized white head with small bubbles that quickly dissolve and rescind back into a nice film above the brew. The aroma is dominated by lemongrass and yeast, making this one a definite summertime pleasure. Images conjured up are of me sitting on the tractor after plowing the field and savoring the beer as a reward well earned, as well as thoughts of Belgian monks sipping this down and proudly giggling as they brew more. And then it dawns on me – I haven’t even tasted this yet. Let’s give it a go.
The first sip is smooth and refreshing, showcasing plenty of light fruit flavors – apples, pears and citrus (lemon and orange peel). There is a good yeast presence as well, but I would be remiss if I didn’t conclude with a touch of coriander spice accenting the light fruity backbone. The mouthfeel is medium-bodied and from start to finish, this thing is nice and crisp. The alcohol is fairly high, but stays well hidden and the burn you get from it is minimal, making this one an easy drinker for something this strong. I know this is probably considered sacrilege in some Belgian beer circles, but this is one tasty libation!
Go get Defiant Tripel Ale if you want a nice take on a Belgian Tripel. Perhaps I can coerce my cohorts into a Keg Tap Smackdown event between this and some of Ommegang’s selections. It may be a little light for its style, but I still think this one is a gem. It certainly has the potential to draw a large, diverse fan base and not limit itself simply to the die-hard Belgian beer purists. Cheers!