Drunken Speculation

#51 Bridge Road Rule 47 Tripel

51Lately, I’ve been trying to cycle more and drink less beer. It sounds criminal but I need to burn these calories (or take on fewer in the first place) if I’m to get my on-the-bike performance where I’d like it to be. But surely a cycling themed beer is an exception, especially if I’ve been thinking about it while busting my ass over Mt Tamborine?

Rule 47 derives from the Velominati rules, a code of behaviour for road cyclists to achieve the elusive aesthetic of Euro pro status. This particular regulation reads:

Drink tripels, don’t ride triples: Cycling and beer are so intertwined we may never understand the full relationship. Beer is a recovery drink, an elixir for post-ride trash talking and a just plain excellent thing to pour down the neck. We train to drink so don’t fool around. Drink quality beer from real breweries. If it is brewed with rice instead of malted barley or requires a lime, you are off the path. Know your bittering units like you know your gear length. Life is short, don’t waste it on piss beer.

A “triple” in this context refers to the chainrings – the cogs at the front attached to the pedals – on a bike. A standard road bike comes with two chainrings, normally with 53 and 39 teeth each. Some entry level road bikes also come fitted with three chainrings, which is more typical of mountain bikes. Three chainrings are better for finding an easy gear on steep gradients but add unnecessary weight if you’ve got a reasonable level of leg strength. Hence, a triple chainring is a sign of weakness and not to be tolerated in the peloton of Friday morning Freds.

I don’t need to explain tripels, right? The whole thing is a pun. Do you get it? Are you sure? Fine, I’ll move on. Here’s what Bridge Road have to say:

Rule 47 is a Belgian-inspired collaboration between the Victorian High Country Brewers, showcasing hops grown in our own alpine valleys. Malt from three continents, Belgian dark candi syrup and our favourite Trappist yeast strain all provide a platform on which our local Rostrevor-grown hops can shine. Rule 47 is best drunk as it was brewed, collaboratively.

Rule 47 looks, smells and behaves fantastically. I don’t usually put much emphasis on the “ancillaries” (i.e. everything about a beer that isn’t how it tastes) but this one ticks all the boxes:

  • Fluffy white head, well retained and contrasting to the brown yeasty lees
  • Surprisingly dark caramel colour
  • Easygoing pour
  • Long lasting effervescent carbonation
  • Dark candi syrup contributing a well-rounded mouthfeel
  • Burnt toffee, Robust Porter-esque malt and dank hops notes

It makes for an extremely well balanced and well assembled beer.

As with most of my recent reviews, this has been sitting in my cupboard for a while (I’m going to have to have a serious cellar clearout at the end of the year), so I’m not surprised I ended up with two sets of tasting notes for the same beer.

The first time around, while it was a bit on the cold side, I wasn’t getting much of anything on my tongue. The cinnamon all-spiciness I’ve come to expect from Belgian beers was missing. There was no characteristic Belgian yeast funk. There were some sneaky hints of flavour but they were difficult to find.

As time passed – I decided to crack another beer in the interim – Rule 47 eventually came to life. The Restrevor hops contributed some mild bitterness with a flavour that lies somewhere between lantana, peppermint and mustard seeds. That sounds weird but I couldn’t quite pin it down. By the bottom of the glass, a bit of yeast funk had come to the party but the flavour profile wasn’t overwhelming. In fact, unlike many tripels, you might consider having two of these in a row.

I ummed and uhhed about the flavour score for this for a while. Rule 47 nails the ancillaries but, perhaps due to it’s age, isn’t mindblowing in the flavour stakes. I don’t regard a beer that has to be at the perfect temperature to get some flavour out that highly. Maybe I’m just jaded but I decided to err on the side of caution.

Summary

  • Website
  • Genre: Belgo
  • Regionality: Beechworth, VIC
  • Strength: 7.0%
  • Rating: 1.5 / 3 taste + 2 / 2 ancillaries = 3.5 / 5
  • Plus: A sessionable tripel?
  • Minus: Needs to be served to perfectly to get a decent flavour level out of it

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