I got on Facebook a little while ago, because I felt like I was missing out on this decade’s biggest thing. Like Members Only jackets were to the 1980’s, or American Gladiators to the 90’s (sorry Hulk). But after I located a couple old college buddies, selected several pieces of flare that represented my offbeat personality, and updated everyone on what I was doing at that exact moment, I kind of wondered what the big deal was. Were my friends really sitting around anxiously waiting to see what my favorite movie of all time was? Or even if I gave Hoegaarden Wit a 9 out of 10 on RateBeer? Maybe I’m stuck in the stone age, but coworkers I don’t even know go out of their way to “friend” me, then that same day walk by me in the hall without saying hello. It’s almost like a trophy case of acquaintances, a competition to see who can secure the most digital friends.

I’m really not trying to be a curmudgeon, but I find it fascinating that nobody (to this point) has truly figured out a way to make significant money by leveraging people’s online social networks. Sure, there’s been a few big bets placed on Facebook. But the underlying driver behind the success of the site isn’t money. Nor is it fun little widgets. It’s humans’ desire to connect with each other. It’s a basic need. And one that others actually have capitalized on in the past…Ma Bell, the postal service, Hallmark. I think that some day, whether it’s Facebook or some other platform, someone is going to break through with a social utility noone can do without. Next decade’s version of the cell phone. But in this age of IM and email and, yes, blogs, it feels sometimes like we’re ironically slowly regressing in our ability to communicate and connect with each other, on a human level. I’m not sure I want to live in a world where people would rather send an email than walk 20 feet down the hall to talk to me in person.

All that said, there’s no way reading this blog that you’re going to understand how great of a beer Westmalle Tripel is until you go out and buy it for yourself.

My earlier experiences with other Westmalle offerings have been superb. And their Tripel may just raise the bar. Great head, great coloring. A little bit of yeast sediment floating around in the cloudy, light orange brew. Beautiful, as expected. It is Westmalle, after all. Nice aroma, like slightly warmed apple sauce. Taste is very spicy, crisp bite. The kind that hits you in the back corners of your tongue. Also real citrusy, like licking the tart backside of an orange rind. It stays with you long after you swallow, like a spicy Thai dish that lingers well after the meal is over.

It’s not as malty sweet as most other Tripels I’ve enjoyed. But that doesn’t mean it’s not balanced. You can barely notice the 9.5% ABV. This is probably the best overall Tripel I’ve had…even better than Chimay Cinq Cents.

Rating: A