Monday, April 11, 2011

Review: Papago Brewing Oude Zuipers

On my annual trip to Phoenix to watch baseball's spring training, I like to stop in Papago Brewing in Scottsdale. It has an extensive and interesting tap list and if you don't like any of the 30 craft and craft-quality import beers on tap, there's a wall of refrigerated bottles that allows you to choose one to buy there and drink on-premises.

Besides, they let you throw darts as you drink beer.

I took home a bottle of Papago's Oude Zuipers, a Belgian-style tripel. Actually, it's brewed for Papago by Brouwerij Van Steenberge in Belgium, so it's not so much Belgian-style as actually Belgian.

Last weekend, I brought the bottle out as I contemplated whether I wanted to drink 25.4 ounces of 11 percent alcohol beer. I removed the cage but not the cork, and decided better of it and put it back in the fridge.

A few minutes later: pop. And my decision was made for me.

You don't want to let a $12 bottle of beer go to waste, and without its cork, it was time to drink it or pour it out.

As I needed some food to soak up such a big beer, I made an emergency trip to Guido's Favorite Foods, an upscale deli in downtown Durango, for some pancetta and olives. Then a quick stop at City Market for oyster mushrooms and cherry tomatoes.

Back at home, I poured Oude Zuipers as I made my pasta dish. The Belgian ale is a reddish brown color, with a substantial off-white head of foam. The carbonation sticks around nicely.

It's a touch sweet on the palate, and carries that great Belgian yeast complexity. It finishes with a warming character from the strong alcohol content. Oude Zuipers is quite wine-like, actually.

Oude Zuipers was as good as any Belgian-style tripel I've had. Popping the cork accidentally sent me into a minor panic, but when you have all afternoon to cook a fancy pasta dish and drink Belgian beer, you're doing pretty well. A-

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