I love the craft beer advent calendar, I really do. It’s got a lot of interesting beers from breweries I may not otherwise get a chance to try. What I don’t like about the calendar is the way the beers are put inside. I’ve had major issues with them falling down this year, especially the cans, and today I even ended up taking out the wrong beer. Somehow my day 17 beer fell down and pushed my day 5 beer out of the way. My wife ended up taking them all out for me (so I couldn’t peak) and putting them in individual wrapping with numbers on them. I still love the calendar, just some friendly feedback (if you’re reading).
The fifth beer of the calendar is Aviator Brewing Company’s Devil’s Tramping Ground Tripel. As the name suggests, this beer is a Beligan Tripel. Aviator Brewing Company is located Fuquay Varina, North Carolina and has been open since 2008.
Mark Dobel opened Aviator in an old airplane hangar (hence the name) in November of 2008. At the time he was the only employee and he brewed into two used dairy tanks. Initially only brewing 300 gallons of beer, he quickly outgrew the dairy tanks. In January of 2009, after adding a 30 barrel system, they began distribution to the triangle area of North Carolina. I should say he because at this point they still only had 1 employee.
In April 2010 they moved from the hangar and increase capacity as well as employees up to four. In 2012 they added a canning line as well as new beers including the one we are trying today, and by 2014 they had canned over 1.2 million beers. In June of 2015 they were up to canning 3.5 million beers and had moved to a new 5 acre site. At present, they are looking to expand to another 5 acre site and build a restaurant as well. The website provides a good look at all the milestones along the way. The beers sold by Aviator range widely from an IPA to a Pils to an Imperail Belgian Tripel. They all have fun names and labels, check them all out here.
The style of beer we are drinking today is a Beligan Tripel. The name Tripel comes from the brewing process of this beer. Essentially it means you are adding three times the malt as you would in a Beligan “simple”. This increases the sugar content in the beer and results in a highly alcoholic beer. The best Belgian tripels hide this strong alcoholic flavor making them delicious but dangerous. They have a surprisingly light color, typically bright yellow to golden, which is a result of the addition of Belgian candy sugar (up to 25% sucrose). Tripels are the most brewed of the Belgian styles and are highly adored due to their deep color, soft maltiness and unique yeast flavors. Even with their high ABV (usually 8-12%) they are highly approachable when done right. Let’s get to the beer.
Appearance – Clear, golden in colour with a good 1” of head that fades quickly leaving only a remnant of what was.
Smell – Almost like soap. Not bad soap, the good fruity soap, like tangerines or grapefruit.
Taste – Nice sweetness with hints of pepper, mild fruit flavours and good malty sweetness. Definitely can tell it is alcoholic, but not in a bad way.
Mouth feel medium bodied, low carbonation, refreshing and crisp.
Overall – Really good. The smell through me off a little bit but once I delved into the beer itself I was really impressed. I like the depth of flavours with the tangerine and sweet fruits combined with the spice and malty notes. Nice ester profile with sweet date in there as well.
Do I like it? – Yep, I really like. I’ve been growing in my palate for beer and last year I might not have liked this as much. For me this a strong Belgian Tripel with a lot going for it. The smell, while a bit weird, did not translate into taste. It’s one I’d like to have again.