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Tripels are one of the great misleading styles of the beer world. People tend to associate “dark” with “strong” and “pale” with “Oh, that’s just a regular beer, no big deal,” so the combination that makes tripels stand out—a light straw color and high alcohol levels—can throw uninformed beer drinkers for a loop. Toss in the smooth, easy drinking of a beer like Tripel Karmeliet and you’re just asking for trouble. It clocks in at 8.4 percent ABV, but you’d never know it based on taste: Thanks to the addition of oats, this worldwide legend goes down like velvet. Subtle hints of spice and fresh grass round out a flavor dominated by gentle, sweet malts and the faintest touch of hop bitterness. Find Tripel Karmeliet at Monk’s, Iron Abbey and the Pour House Exton.
Beer on tap: Westmalle Tripel
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