Old Dominion – Candi

Screen Shot 2016-06-10 at 10.51.37 PMI found this beer the same way I found the Cherry Blossom Lager, at a Downtown Crown brewery hosting of Old Dominion Brewery. Given the beer art was excellent and of pin-up girls, I wasn’t really expecting a great beer. Generally speaking, I figured the more finished the packaging art, the less spectacular the beer. I was wrong. This was an exceptional example of a US-made Belgian Tripel, in the same vein as Chimay, or its lesser cousin, Leffe. It gets its name from the fact that Belgian candi sugar is used to fortify the beer, like many Belgiums’ beer.

This is an impertinent little rascal of a beer that hopefully will surprise you as much as it did me.  Old Dominion Brewery, located in Dover, Delaware, of all places, has effectively snatched with its little monkey like paws Belgium’s national pride. Namely it is  one of the best Tripels on planet Earth.  Nay. I’d say our galaxy.

It has a very, almost impossibly deep, golden-brown hue, with a bit of chill haze.  It pours

Screen Shot 2016-06-11 at 10.44.10 AM
Belgian Candi Sugar

with a fairly dense off white tinged foam head that has some staying power.  It has an intense taste of rich estery goodness, thanks to the Belgium’s yeast and candi
sugar added to fermentation.  The hops are there, nicely balancing the intense malty, clove hinted concoction. However,  the hops are not so strong that you can detect their aroma.  I personally don’t like overly hopped beer, and this delivers on that. It isn’t a beer you’d chug down, but one you’ll take a bit to savor.  It also isn’t one I’d drink 2 or more of in one setting, due to its intensity.

Background

This is one of Old Dominion’s Pin-Up series beers. Unlike the rest in this series, this one really stands out (beyond the label art).  Read the label carefully, and you’ll see that this beer won the 2014 World Beer Cup. I wasn’t familiar with the competition, not thinking it was a major accomplishment. Are they just competing against Fat Tire, and a few other US made Belgium style beers? No. It turns out in 2014, there were 4754 beers judges, 94 styles, and 1403 Breweries that entered. In the Tripel Category, 59 entries, from very well know brewers, including top Belgium competitors such as Delerium Termens,  and Chimay. So no small feat. In fact, Delerium came in third, and Old Dominion Candi came in 1st.   Considering the price of a 4 pack of Delerium goes for about $20.00, the $12.00 six pack of Candi is a relative bargain.

Rating: Beer Advocate gives it an 85 out of 100.
My Rating: 4.6 out of 5.0.
Alcohol By Volume: 9.5%
Availability: Rotating / Early Spring

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