I was first turned on to The Brewer’s Art in Baltimore almost 20 years ago by some work friends. It’s housed in a grand, old townhouse in north Baltimore with the bar in the front room, a cool sitting area with a fireplace in the next room, gourmet restaurant in the rear, and a cool downstairs hideout.
Known originally for making some of the best Belgian beers in the area with staples like Resurrection and Beazly (formerly called Ozzy), The Brewer’s Art occasionally widens its portfolio these days. The newest of which is a Belgian tripel called GPT.
Frequently, you’ll hear Belgian beers referred to as a Singel, Dubbel, Trippel or Quad. It’s believed that the origin of the names comes from a monastery’s beer lineup (think Ale #1, Ale #2, etc.) a couple centuries ago.
The blonde ale you’re used to (like Blue Moon) is usually a Singel. The others are frequently darker, more malty and sweet (Dubbels will occasionally be a bit more dry), with Tripels and Quads being “strong ales” with higher alcohol content.
Green Peppercorn Tripel, shown prominently on the can as “GPT”, is a blonde ale that’s been placed into the “tripel” category which, with an alcohol content of 9.2% ABV, means you’ll get no argument from me.
It pours from the can as a light gold color with good carbonation. Along with the Belgian yeast and hops, it’s signature flavor comes from the addition of green peppercorns.
You definitely notice a hint of that pepper in the aroma, which really not something you’re used to smelling from a beer. The taste, however, is pure Belgian goodness – light body with lots of cloves and smokiness. It’s definitely “spiced”, but has a nice sweetness to it. In fact, you really don’t notice the peppercorns until you get that aftertaste. Even then, it’s very subtle and not at all obnoxious (which it easily could have been, so kudos to the brewmaster).
Overall, this is a solid Belgian ale. I typically like mine a bit more dark and sweet, or with more banana/bubblegum flavors, so I expected this one to be undrinkable. But really, nothing about it is really over-the-top, and it’s all nicely balanced with LOTS of flavor.
Definitely one to try if you like Belgian wheat ales like Blue Moon or Allegash White. Just expect this one to really push the flavors a lot more prominently than those beers. It’s also very drinkable, and goes down easy, so keep an eye on that 9.2% ABV.
Bottom line? Don’t get intimidated by its name or main additive – this is just the latest in a line of great, high-quality Belgian beer from The Brewer’s Art.