Dupont: Avec Les Bons Voeux (Belgium: Abbey Tripel: 9.5% ABV)
Visual: Hazy yellow. Large mounded bubbled white head. Some sediment.
Nose: Crisp. Bitter and wheaty. Apricot and cinnamon. Jiff lemon. Brown bread.
Body: Bitter. Cinnamon. Earthy spice. Sour dough. Slight honeyed barley. Steam beer. Light lemon sherbet. Soft apricot and dried banana.
Finish: Bitter. Liquorice. Lime hops. Cumin. Treacle notes. Dried apricot. Slight chocolate chews.
Conclusion: I have the horrid urge to have the entirety of this conclusion be “Not as good as Saison Dupont”, but I think that would be slightly unfair. For one thing, despite the house style similarities, this is not a saison.
Spoiler warning, this is not as good as saison dupont.
Then again, Dupont Saison is one of my favourite beers. This takes a similar approach to hops, very crisp and bitter styled, and it adds a large amount of spice into the mix, from heavy grounding spices with a turmeric style to sweeter cinnamon notes. There’s even a cloying liquorice stick like finish. It is very flavoursome and complex, but, for me at least, the spice feels like it is a set of heavy boots stomping over the interesting elements below.
Underneath is soft lemon and apricot notes, into dried apricot and lime on the send off. There’s even an interesting texture. The best was I can describe it is like the Californian common/steam beer. That almost hazy feel that is almost evanescent on the tongue. It reminds me a bit of Saison De Pipaix in feel, but with a better base. Despite these interesting notes the cumin and liquorice elements weigh in so heavy that it still feels over spiced. I don’t even know if this beer is made with spices, It’s just the flavours I get, however I would not be surprised.
Maybe I’m being unfair. Dupont couldn’t just turn out their Saison again and say “Hey, a new beer”. There just would be no point. Even with all the spice and higher abv, it does have some saison like notes, and some notes in common with that legendry beer, while still being a very distinct beer itself. It brings so many elements even with the spice, there’s great dried banana and apricot notes
It’s just…well I can’t see a reason to go with this one. What it does well is what it has in common with their saison, and the spice notes don’t enhance it and at times actually hurt it, making it slightly closed.
Not bad, and with a very complex base, but suffers due to the spice.
Background: Saison Dupont is easily one of the best saisons in the world, and has given Dupont a very high reputation with me. This is their seasonal beer, with Bons Voeux translating as “good wishes”. This was drunk while listening to The Eel’s live album “Oh what a beautiful morning”, which I , of course, listened to in the evening. This was picked up from “The Beer Emporium” while I was on a big of a Belgian beer kick. Which admittedly is 90% of the time. Belgian beer is awesome.