I first had Troubadour Magma at the Snowdrop Inn beer festival, one of the best beer events I’ve been to in a long time. It was the last beer of my day, downed as we were walking out the door. The first mouthful made me stop, take another gulp, then sit down. I immediately wanted to finish the glass and order another. It was incredible. Why had I never had this beer before? It’s a strong Belgian beer dry-hopped with American hops. Imagine a Tripel meets an American IPA.
But I was drinking it as I was leaving. Lauren had hold of my empty hand and was pulling me out the door. She’d already sat and watched me drink beer for too many hours and it was time to go. With one hand in hers, the other was rooted in the pub through the grip I had on my pint glass. Lauren versus a 9% beer, with me stuck in the middle. Both had the potential to knock me out but one was about to do it before the other had the chance...
Then for my birthday last week Lauren puts a big box in front of me. Ripping off the beery wrapping paper, it contained all of the best beers from the Snowdrop – Saison Dupont, Anchor Bigfoot, Odells IPA and Troubadour Magma (it also had some Mikkellers and more Anchor – Lauren did good).
Magma (9% ABV) had two days in the fridge before I busted it out. Tropical fruit, fruit salad sweets, vanilla ice cream with raspberry sauce, a perfumy fragrance, mango, roasted pineapple... Not many beers smell like this. The body has a sweetness to it but that balances the bitterness at the end. The hop flavour rocks, there’s a dry finish to it all, and each mouthful is different and interesting and exciting. A brilliant beer. It’s the best Belgian beer I’ve drunk all year, in fact.
When Belgians do American hops well, they really do them well. This, Vivan Imperial IPA, IV Saison, Chouffe Houblon. Delicious.