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It’s always great to see old friends. And even better when they bring you beer.

This weekend, we recently had a visit with a baller named Melissa, who made it big and moved to the city. (By baller, we mean that she played on our co-ed beer league three-pitch team. And by ‘big’, we mean that she now works at a major national newspaper in downtown Toronto, not so much the MLB.)

Naturally humanitarian, she came with two 1L growlers from Royal City Brewing for us to share and review for the Beer Blog.  On her request, we chose to crack open the Tripel Entente. I’m not a history buff, so please excuse my ignorance, but I’ve learned that the actual Triple Entente was an allied agreement in 1904 with the Russian Empire, the French Third Republic and the UK, to defend against the strong German, Austria-Hungary and Italy allies, and possibly ignited the Great War. So… what the heck does this have to do with delicious beer in 2017 (other than the Tripel/Triple word play)?

I’m still not sure. Can someone connect the dots for me? Onwards we go.

Roy253018_10100359963353559_872518955_nal City says this beer is a Belgian Tripel, and drinking it certainly brought me down memory lane. Back in our Salad Days, Greg and I traveled to see friends in Holland and we went on a magical biking adventure. Starting from south Netherlands and riding into Belgium, we stopped at every Monastery we passed for a fresh sip of their brews.

This one-off Tripel tasted just like the nectar those monks produced. It smelled citrusy and boozy. It was sweet and the alcohol coated your mouth. It couldn’t get more fresh, as it was bottled just the previous day. At 7.5% ABV, it lived up to the Tripel characterization as a strong ale.  Being so high in alcohol made it easier to share this beer, too, even though I would have been fine to hoard it. As a rotating cask, this Tripel is only available directly from the brewery.

It’s nice to know that I don’t have to hop on a plane to get my favourite taste of Europe. Maybe a bike tour around Wellington County’s breweries this summer would complete the fantasy. This time, Melissa is coming, too!