New Belgium Pluot – Tripel – From the “Lips of Faith” series
10% ABV/IBU: 5
I am starting to conclude that I am trapped in some mind-bending beer weirdness dimension and can’t escape. I keep drinking these trippy, bizarre, experiment-for-experiment’s sake brews and my haul has been backlogged with them. Last week I reviewed New Belgium’s “Lips of Faith” series “Paardebloem” (I still keep saying that out loud) and almost didn’t know what I was drinking. “Pluot”, while simpler and a little better than the Paardbeloem is still a weird concoction that doesn’t seem to have a purpose aside from being different. Just because it will not conform, it doesn’t make it Cool Hand Luke. In this case it’s Napoleon Dynamite. GOSH!
What the fuck is a PLUOT? Interestingly enough, I know very well what a pluot is and have eaten many of them. A pluot is a fruit that is a hybrid between a plum and an apricot. They’re just OK in my opinion, and I love fruit, because I’m a fruity guy (not Johnny Weir fruity). So why brew a Belgian tripel with pluot juice? Is this an attempt to make a beer somewhat like Ommegang’s incredibly awesome “Three Philosophers” (a Belgian quad with cherries)? If the beer was good I would care enough to find out. But it’s not, so I won’t. Now, let’s focus on the beer itself…
This beer is bright orange and gold; and is mostly clear with a tiny bit of a haze. The head is thin, white, and one finger thick if poured aggressively, and it dies quickly. For a tripel this is unacceptable, DAMN IT. This beer reminds me of a hooker that doesn’t take pride in her work: it does not even give me good head!
The aroma smells of sweet citrus, ester, apricots and plums… kind of like a pluot. Imagine that. Its flavor is OK (for the first glass, and there is some delightful news ahead for the 2nd glass). It is very simple: pluot, ester, champagne, and a tad bit of malt. It is boring but decent. I’m disappointed in the lack of malt. A tripel is brewed with three times the malt as a “simple” Trappist ale. So where the fuck is my malt? It’s right alongside the head, I guess: in a place that is NOT MY BEER. The lacing was weak; some suds clung to the glass for survival but their brethren were slaughtered for the most part. It was very dry with a soda-water mouth-feel.
When I drank my second glass I admit this brew got better. It became more robust and even a bit maltier, probably because the strong fruit after-flavor that conditioned my tongue. This brew was more welcome than the previous “Lips of Faith” entry I drank. It grew on me a bit.
The aftertaste was noticeably better than the Paardebloem. It was fresh, fruity, authentic and natural. What I found interesting about this selection is the odor and taste was more of the apricot persuasion, and the aftertaste was more of the plumb persuasion.
New Belgium, a stellar outfit in the industry with a fantastic catalogue of simple beers, has gone full Section 8 Discharge with their “Lips of Faith” series. I think it’s perhaps they are more suited for straightforward craft beers, where care and pride are their two best ingredients. With “Lips of Faith” they are trying to add “beer artistry” in the mix and creating splatter paintings that to the majority of us can be created by anyone by just tossing a bunch of shit at the canvas, but still are sure to be praised by a small subset of pretentious dick-weeds who look like Joaquin Phoenix in “Her” and are in dire need of Selsun Blue.
Has M.C. fucking Escher hijacked the craft beer industry? I know I have stated in the past that craft beer is about “pushing the boundaries” but there should be some logic. Ommegang’s “Three Philosophers” is kind of odd but the beer profiles are so strong and well-crafted that its flavor is only enhanced by the cherries. Westbrook’s “Mexican Cake” sounded interesting and enticing, and could have failed, but was dynamite awesome. Uinta’s “Labyrinth Black Ale” with its flavor of black licorice also raised my eyebrows and got me excited before I tasted it. Founders “Breakfast Stout” even rang logical while teetering on the edge of “don’t go there”, yet it is one of the best stouts made. The New Belgium “Lips of Faith” entries scream “Frankenbeer” as soon as I read the label. The profiles don’t blend and integrate well, nor do they complement each other. So when I want to drink an experimental beer I want it to make sense, not cause me to feel like Jennifer Connolly at the end of “Labyrinth” when she’s running around that gravity-defying stair maze while David Bowie, dressed in dominatrix leather with silver eye shadow and teased 1985 New Jersey mall-chick hair, slinks creepily around on the ceiling.
Jennifer Connolly: if you’re reading this, you’re hot. I have had a major crush on you since I saw Labyrinth as a wee lad for the first time. Will you go out with me? I have an 8th degree black belt in cunnelingus-fu!