We get to sample a lot - it kind of goes with the territory. So it sometimes takes something unique to make us sit up and remember just how innovative, original, and adventurous the craft brewing industry truly is! This blog series explores some of these innovative beers.
We have been huge fans of Kamloops' Red Collar Brewing ever since our first sip of brewmaster David Beardsell's Belgian Quad. But even if you didn't know of David's amazing reputation, history, and pedigree in the brewing industry, his beers easily speak for themselves.
David's efforts to promote craft beer, launch the careers of young brewers, and help start-up breweries, not just in his home base of Kamloops, but throughout Western Canada has been a truly inspiring story which you can read more about at Red Collar's About Us page here.
Of all his amazing creations, though, one of our favorites is his winter seasonal, No Fun Frank Triple Tripel. We first tasted this beer in December 2016 immediately prior to its first launch just over a year ago. We were lucky enough to score an early release unlabeled bottle so it was a true blind taste test - we didn't even know the name of the beer or its style.
The first pour quickly gave away a few clues. The aroma and colour suggested a boozy belgian ale, probably a dubbel or tripel. Satisfied that we knew what it was, we had our first taste. Initially, it came across as a high-ABV Belgian ale per the aroma, but to our surprise it finished like a hoppy high-IBU Northwest-style IPA.
After learning it was called a Triple Tripel it all came together. This awesome beer is made with Red Collar's proprietary Belgian yeast strain but brewed with a Northwest IPA-type hop bill. And of course, the high alcohol content places it well within Belgian Tripel/Triple IPA territory.
This year's version was just as tasty, although we knew a little more what to expect this time. In our estimation, this year's version is even better than last year's - the beer leans more hazy, hoppy and juicy this year. My guess is that this one was dry-hopped a little harder, as the tropical fruit notes from the dry hop are considerably more pronounced.
The net benefit of this is that the aroma is both saison-y and tropical at the same time. So instead of starting Belgian and finishing Westcoast, you get both elements from start to finish.
This is truly a delicious seasonal. Just take your time, as the balance and complex flavour easily hide the 9.0% ABV.
No Fun Frank is available at Red Collar's tasting room as well as select liquor stores in BC.
Photo credits: Red Collar Brewing, John Briner