Het Anker - Gouden Carolus Tripel
Serving Temperature:41–45° F
Suggested Glassware:Tulip, Chalice, Goblet, or Teku Glass
The Het Anker Gouden Carolus Tripel pours a slightly hazy golden amber, with delicate orange highlights glistening when touched by light, all crowned by a substantial, creamy pale head that clings to the glass like intricate church windows with every sip. After pouring into our preferred tulip glasses, the air is instantly filled with the enticing fragrances of lusciously sweet malt and candied orange peel, accompanied by subtle notes of bubblegum and cotton candy as we bring the liquid closer to our eager noses. Placing our noses over the glass, vibrant fruit and non-fruit aromas abound. The symphony of scents unfolds revealing vibrant anise, expected coriander, classic Belgian yeast, and budding citrus blossoms. With a few gentle swirls we’re introduced to the aromas lurking in the background such as notes of vanilla, hints of caramel and honey, shortbread biscuits, and fresh white pepper. We were eager to take and savor our first sip.
Taking the initial sip of Het Anker’s Gouden Carolus Tripel, our palates are graced with a medley of flavors that are deliciously pronounced. Toffee and caramel are complemented by honey and lightly toasty malt, leading into a profound tapestry of ripe fruity notes. Hints of banana, plump apricots and peaches, and fleshy white plums lead into inviting tropical flavors that are accented by bright citrus zest and blossoms. Truly a world class amalgam of flavors and textures harmoniously supported by firm, hoppy, herbal bitterness, and dry earthiness.
The Het Anker Gouden Carolus Tripel boasts a full-bodied character, exhibiting a remarkable sense of balance and a mouthfeel that envelops the palate, all without feeling too weighty or cloyingly sweet. The pronounced mousse is made up of fine, tightly grouped bubbles giving a creamy texture adding to the luxurious drinking experience. The finish is lengthy and finely textured, with delicate layers of fruit, malt, yeast, and hops giving their best and revealing the true craftsmanship of the brewer.
The Het Anker Gouden Carolus Tripel is a fine beer that will mature well for two to three years, perhaps longer. Further aging and maturation aren’t necessary, though, as it drinks very well now. It pairs well with ham and rosemary potatoes, or Belgian cheese croquettes and roasted lemon chicken – even custardy desserts or white chocolate truffles will work very well here.
We managed to secure not one but two wonderful and highly sought after beers from Belgium’s Het Anker brewery to bring to our Rare Beer Club members this month: the fantastic Gouden Carolus Tripel and Gouden Carolus Christmas. Originally brewed for the Knights of the Golden Fleece in 1491, Gouden Carolus Tripel is a world class beer, winning gold at the 2002 World Beer Cup and being named “World’s Best Belgian-Style Tripel” at the World Beer Awards in 2012, among many other awards it’s received throughout the years. Sadly, availability of 750-ml bottles of this superb tripel has been limited to just 15 states in recent years, so we’re happy to have the opportunity to bring this brew to a wider audience, and as the perfect complement to the Gouden Carolus Christmas. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did!
The Het Anker brewery can trace its roots back to the founding of a brewery in 1471 by a group of Beguines, a semi-monastic religious order active at that time in the Low Countries. In 1872, the brewery was purchased by Louis Van Breedam, who ultimately dubbed it with its current name, Het Anker (The Anchor). He installed a modern brewing system including a state-of-the-art steam boiler, bringing the brewery decidedly into the modern age.
A further modernization of the brewery was accomplished in 1990 under the leadership of Charles Leclef, who represents the fifth generation of Van Breedam family brewers. In the same year, they opened a three-star hotel at the brewery site, and in 2010 they overhauled and relaunched their attached “Brasserie” restaurant.
Het Anker is most well-known for their line of Gouden Carolus beers which they began producing after WWII. Currently the line consists of their Classic, a strong dark ale, along with the Tripel featured this month, an amber, imperial dark and blond ales, a smoked beer, a Christmas ale, and others – many of them spiced with herbs as was common in ancient recipes. They began distilling whisky from their Gouden Carolus Tripel in 2010, and currently also produce a line of sake.
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