A few months ago I tried a beer from the continent which I truly regarded as one of the best Belgian beers I'd ever tried. Many others also held it in such high regard, and I believe it'll be a long time before I see anything as game changing come out of the Belgian beer scene.
That beer was Duvel Triple Hop, Citra version.
That beer has come and gone however, and something else has taken it's place. Uncharacteristically for a Belgian brewery, Duvel has produced a new beer (same beer, different hop - they can't be called equals though) but I have a feeling this version isn't going to be as universally praised as the previous.
Citra hops. When they first came on the scene it seemed no one really wanted to use, or drink anything else. It's truly a powerful hop, I'll say again, game changing. I'm not sure I can say the same for this new Triple Hop incarnation....
It seems to be a form of Marmite hop variety these days, with people either liking or disliking it... with myself being on the latter side of things. I've been told I'm right, I've been told I'm very wrong, but hey - it's actually alright to have a difference of opinion sometimes you know! And looking at how memorable Citra Triple Hop was maybe, just maybe this new Duvel can alter my opinions on a hop I had previously written off.
It certainly comes across the nose with that unmistakable aroma (to me anyways) - lemon and limes, sherbet, thai green/lemon grass curry but here I think the Saaz and Styrian Goldings also used in the brew might be helping to mask/lift the flavour to a better balance. There's a very obvious difference in this beer to all the others I've tried with a predominant push towards Sorachi... This has the power of abv behind it. I really think it's this high 9.5% that actually makes this beer much better than what I expected it to be. It's packed full of flavour, but not to my disliking this time. Ripe, tart but juicy green apple skins, loads of orange rind and lemon pips, peach skin, it's a full on fruit salad riot! I was almost convinced by Wild Beer Co's Wild Saison... maybe it's the Belgian effect (yeast?) that makes this hop work...
I think this beer will still divide opinion on the hop, which is fine but in this instance, I've been convinced.