North of Brussels lies the Bosteels Brewery, which was established in 1791, and uses a recipe created more than 100 years before its founding to create the Tripel Karmeliet. The Carmelite monks of Dendermonde developed the now centuries-old recipe for this unique brew, which calls for three types of grain—wheat, oats, and barley—and combines them masterfully with Styrian hops and the brewery’s house yeast for a well-balanced taste that is both light and rich, with delightful hints of citrus, vanilla, and spice. A slow, tall pour begets a head that is firm and creamy. Once it settles, the refreshing first sips provide and eruption of effervescence and flavors, coating the tongue with notes of spice, sweet toffee, and malt, followed by an earthy finish. The lingering flavors and 8.4 percent alcohol by volume inspire a calm sense of enjoyment, and make the Tripel Karmeliet one of the finest beers Belgium has to offer.
(www.bestbelgianspecialbeers.be; prices typically range from $10 to $12 per 750 mL bottle; 330 mL bottle shown; check your local beer merchant for availability)