Chicagoist's Beer Of The Week: Dark Horse Sapient Trip Ale

By Jason Baldacci in Food on May 30, 2014 8:30PM

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Seasonal beers are a big deal in the craft segment of the industry. They often come with a lot of hype, and each year, they tend to come out earlier and earlier. This week, we dive into one of our favorite seasonal releases that seems to fly under the radar here in Chicago, despite the fact that it's pretty amazing.

Sapient Trip Ale is a Belgian-Style Tripel from Dark Horse Brewing Co. of Marshall, Mich. It pours a deep, cloudy blonde in the glass, and there's a prominent aroma of malt and spicy yeast on the nose. This one begs you to be careful on the palate. It's definitely very yeast forward, as we could expect from the nose, with big notes of tangy citrus and clove. There's a hint of floral hops that linger just beneath the surface, but the malt profile in this beer is the real juggernaut. If some beers seem bready, this one is almost doughy but it also comes with a touch of brown sugar-like sweetness. If you've ever had monkey bread (the kind that is doused in cinnamon and sugar) the essence of that childhood favorite is all over this beer. It's definitely rich, but not cloying. Mostly, it just sticks with you for a while. At 8.5 percent alcohol content, Sapient Trip Ale is creamy on the palate, but dangerously drinkable for the style and strength of the beer.

A Belgian-Style Tripel is not an easy beer to make in the first place, let alone an easy beer to make well. Our hats are off to Dark Horse for doing a bang up job with this one, but what we appreciate most is that they made it their Spring/Summer seasonal. Who makes a high-alcohol content Abbey-style Tripel as their warm weather seasonal? No one except for Dark Horse. While it may seem like an intense choice to drink on a summer day, the beer is surprisingly crisp for how strong it is and it does finish dry. We also have to recognize that it would be a solid pairing for most things you would find at a backyard BBQ. Burgers, ribs, and pork chops would all be wonderful with this beer, but it's also big enough to stand up to dessert. We might even throw a scoop of vanilla ice cream right into a pint glass, just to see what happens.

Sapient Trip Ale is available on draft and in 12-ounce bottles. Check beermenus.com to see where you can pick some up this weekend.