Due to the sheer volume of good beer and great limited releases they’ve produced over the years, I think it’s safe to say that Driftwood has become one of my favorite breweries of all time. In addition to their Fat Tug IPA, Naughty Hildegarde, Twenty Pounder IPA, and many Flanders-style sour ales (the epitome of brewing perfection!), they’ve also been known to produce some excellent Belgian-style ales as well.
The lastest is known as The Heretic, a Belgian-style Tripel that is the second in a series made using locally grown, Saanich peninsula barley. And since the last one was a Dubbel (the Clodhopper), it only made sense to up the ante with this one! In addition, Heretic is brewed using candy sugar, a tradition that is employed in several strong Belgian ales to increase their alcohol content, the most renowned being Duvel. The end result is a beer that is light in color, heavy on alcohol (8% alc/vol), and boasts some strong, coarse, and spicy malts with an infusion of herbal hops. And I can honestly say, as a man who’s not normally a fan of this type of beer, that this one was most inoffensive and actually quite appealing.
Appearance: Light blonde, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Mild yeast culture, distinctly Belgian malt, mild sweetness
Taste: Strong, accented malts, coarse and spicy
Aftertaste: Lingering yeasts and coarse malts, mild bitterness
In truth, and with all due respect to the venerable brewery, Duvel was never a favorite of mine. In fact, I’ve never been much of a fan of the particular style of Belgian strong ale that involves added sugar. Though I am a big fan of powerful ale, somehow, beers made in this fashion always seemed too light and too coarse for me. And yet, this Driftwood product managed to not only nail the recipe but still remain appealing to my palate. Good job, guys! Looking forward to the next limited release!