Belgian Tripel Beers

Into the Pint Glass: Belgian Tripel

I’m joining in once again with Mariah and Katie for Into the Pint Glass! In today’s edition, we’re talking about Belgian Tripels.

The Belgian Tripel was originally brewed in the Trappist monasteries of Belgium, who used a simple naming convention to label beers by strength and amount of malt used in the brewing process. Enkels were the basic beer recipe, followed by Dubbels and Tripels (or Single, Double, and Triple — simple, see?) Tripels are the strongest beers in the range, with an alcohol content ranging from 8% to 10% ABV. Check out Mariah and Katie‘s posts for more detailed information on the history of the Belgian Tripel.

I sampled two beers for this week’s tasting: Tripel Karmeliet and Duvel Tripel Hop.

While writing this post, I realized that I should have done more research on Belgian Tripels before purchasing beers to sample. As it turns out, just because a beer is brewed in Belgium and has the world “Tripel” on the label does not necessarily mean it is a Belgian Tripel. The Duvel Tripel Hop, I came to discover, is in fact classified as a Belgian IPA. The label “Tripel Hop” refers to the three types of hops used, which now seems obvious. I’m still going to review it because it turns out that my mistake caused me to discover an IPA I actually like!

Tripel Karmeliet

I’ll start with the real Belgian Tripel: The Tripel Karmaliet.

This beer is a beautiful pale golden color with a thick, creamy head. The flavor is crisp and light, with subtle hints of citrus. Very refreshing. This beer is brewed at Bosteels Brewery in Buggenhout, Belgium (try to say that three times fast). It has an alcohol content of 8.4% ABV and is available year-round. I’m happy to say I enjoyed this selection immensely.

Duvel Tripel Hops

Selection Number Two: Duvel Tripel Hop

Not actually a Belgian Tripel, but extremely tasty and worth a try. I actually preferred this to the Tripel Karmelier, though I would recommend both. Duvel is a pale golden hue with a light but creamy head. The flavor is crisp and fruity with a strong grapefruit essence. In a way, it reminded me of cider. The alcohol content is a noticeably strong 9.5% ABV. Duvel Tripel Hop is brewed with three hop varieties; the third hop changes annually, creating a unique taste and aroma each year. I tried the 2015 variety, which uses an aromatic hop from the United States called Equinox. I recommend trying this before 2016, as next year’s variety might be completely different!

Tripel Karmeliet Bottle  Duvel Bottle
Tripel Karmeliet Cap

Join me in two weeks, when I give a few amber beers a try!

PS: Into the Pint Glass: IPA & Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar

Into The Pint Glass
Two IPAs

Into the Pint Glass: IPA

Today I’m joining in with Katie and Mariah for their bi-weekly “Into the Pint Glass” link-up.

This week’s beer is the recently popular IPA. Katie and Mariah are both great about detailing the histories and breakdowns of all the types of beer in the link-up. So I won’t go into detail on that end. But I will give you a bit of information about the particular IPAs I sampled. Both are from California breweries, and I selected both almost entirely based on their logo designs. I’m a sucker for a good logo design.

Saint Archer IPA

I began with an IPA from San Diego-based Saint Archer Brewing Company. 6.8 percent alcohol by volume. The company also brews a blonde ale, a pale ale, and a white ale, in addition to various seasonal selections. I have not tried any of their flavors save for the IPA, though they seem to be a popular brand in Southern California.

Belching Beaver IPA

I followed this one up with Belching Beaver‘s “Rabid Beaver” Rye IPA. 7.0 percent alcohol by volume. I have tried and loved many of their other beers: “Me So Honey” Honey Wheat Ale, “Beavers Milk” Milk Stout, and Peanut Butter Milk Stout. Belching Beaver Brewery is based in Vista, California.

It was my intention to do a breakdown of each of these beers for you, but after sampling both the IPAs, I realized something:

I do not like IPAs.

It’s a suspicion that has grown for some time. I find the flavor of the hops overwhelming, making IPAs displeasing to me. There is something reminiscent of a metallic flavor in them that I just don’t like.

I did enjoy the Saint Archer IPA a bit more than the Rabid Beaver. It was much lighter in color than I expected an IPA to be. It also had a bit of a crisp, fruity aftertaste, which was quickly stifled by the overwhelming hoppiness of the IPA.

This particular type of beer just isn’t for me. How about those labels, though? I may not be a fan of these IPAs, but I’m definitely a fan of these logo designs. The Saint Archers is a simple, minimal design with a beautiful pairing of fonts and colors. Belching Beaver has a fun cartoon beaver logo; each of their beers has a different beaver-themed illustration. I also love Belching Beaver’s cute logo on top of the lid.

Belching Beaver Bottle Cap

Join me in two weeks when I try some Belgian Tripels, which I’m expecting to enjoy much more!

PS: Burgers & Brew & Outdoor Movie Night at Barnsdall Art Park

Into The Pint Glass
Pre-Cooked Crab

How To Clean a Dungeness Crab

During February, Eric and I tried to be better about cooking most of our meals at home. We tend to eat out a lot, which can get unhealthy and isn’t good for our budget. As part of our new goal to eat in, we’ve tried out a lot of new recipes. We’re finding some fun things, which has helped to stifle our constant desire to eat out.

One recipe that we particularly enjoyed making was a Chilled Cream of Avocado Soup with Dungeness Crab from Nom Nom Paleo.

Rather than buying canned crab, we decided to experience the fun challenge of shelling and cleaning our own crab. Neither of us had ever cleaned a crab before. Luckily, the recipe requires the avocado soup to chill for an hour before serving, so we had plenty of time to prepare our crab.

We purchased our crab pre-cooked from the seafood department at our local Whole Foods. You can tell it is pre-cooked because of its red color and it is not alive. Most crabs bought in a grocery store will be pre-cooked.

Removing Legs from Crab

Step 1: Remove the legs

Pull the crab legs away from the body of the crab until they snap off. Set these aside for now.

Crab Apron

Step 2: Remove the apron

On the base of the crab, towards the bottom, there is a small flap of bone. Flip this up and break it off at the back of the shell.

The shape and size of the apron indicates the crab’s gender. This is a male crab. You’ll almost always find a male crab when purchasing one from a store or farmer’s market. Females are required to be put back to keep up the crab population.

Crab Shelling

Step 3: Remove the carapace

Stick your thumb in the hole left by the apron and pull up the large shell from the top of the crab. Lots of guts will come with it. Discard the carapace, as there’s no good meat in it.

Crab Lungs & Guts

Step 4: Remove the lungs

These spongy lungs taste nasty, and can make you sick, so be sure to dispose of them. Fun fact: these are also known as “dead men’s fingers.”

Step 5: Remove the mandibles

These are the mouth parts at the front of the crab. Crack them off and discard.

Step 6: Discard the guts and pull out the meat

There will be a lot of greenish-brown sludgy goo that you’ll want to discard. There will also be a lot of white, yummy meat that you’ll want to keep. You can take the crab to the sink to rinse the goo out, but be careful not to lose any of the good meat. You’ll need to crack pieces of the shell at this stage to ensure you get every last morsel of meat out of the crab.

Cracking Crab Legs

Step 7: Remove the meat from the legs

Once you get the meat out of the body, crack open the legs and remove their meat as well. We used a cracker, which made the job easier. If you’ve eaten crab legs before, this is the same process.

That’s it! It’s not too difficult or time-consuming once you get going. We chilled our crab for a few more minutes, then used it to top our avocado soup!

Crab Eye
PS: All-American Peach Custard Pie & French Toast Brunch for Two

French Toast Brunch

French Toast Brunch for Two

Eric and I aren’t super in to Valentine’s Day. I’ve always preferred to show him I care by doing little things throughout the year, rather than saving all the love for February 14th, and I think he shares this sentiment. Nevertheless, it’s fun to do a little something special.

This year, I planned a special brunch of Strawberries & Cream French Toast and fresh Mandarin Mimosas!

French Toast Plate  Mandarin Mimosa
The french toast recipe comes from the Food Network, and I love it because it’s super simple to make, but still totally delicious.

French Toast Brunch for Two


  • 3 cups fresh sliced strawberries
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 cups cream
  • butter
  • 8 slices brioche (1 inch thick)


Place an oven-proof serving platter in the oven and preheat to 200 degrees.

Combine 2 cups of the strawberries with water in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and continue to cook until berries have softened. Set aside and keep warm until ready to serve.

In a shallow dish (large enough to soak a few slices of bread), whisk the eggs together with 1 cup of the cream.

Melt a chunk of butter in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Tilt the skillet as the butter melts to coat the entire cooking surface. Working a few slices at a time (depending on the size of your skillet), coat the brioche in the egg and cream mixture, making sure not to let the bread get too soggy.

Now transfer the coated brioche to the skillet, cooking for three minutes on each side. Place the cooked french toast on the warm serving platter in the oven and cover loosely with foil.

Use an electric mixer to whip the remaining cup of cream until soft peaks form.

To serve the french toast, top with a combination of cooked and fresh strawberries and whipped cream.


You can also sprinkle a little powdered sugar in place of the fresh whipped cream, if you prefer.

Recipe by Claire Robinson, adapted from The Food Network.

French Toast
I had originally planned to pair the french toast just with sparkling wine, but decided to improvise when I realized I had a large bag of mandarins ready to be eaten. We fresh-squeezed the juice into champagne glasses and mixed them with prosecco. Positively divine!

French Toast
It was a perfect, romantic brunch, and just what I needed to nurse a small birthday hangover.

PS: Breakfast Recipe Round-Up & Cranberry Mince Pies

Crepes a la Cart

Crêpes à la Cart

During our stay in Breckenridge, our attention was often drawn to a tiny restaurant nestled in the middle of Main Street. On every trek past, we couldn’t help but notice the astonishingly long line of people waiting outside. The restaurant was called Crêpes à la Cart, and we knew we would have to try it.

Crepes a la Cart

On our last afternoon in Breckenridge, we realized it was now or never. Even though we arrived around 2pm — reasonably late for lunch — the line was substantially long. We waited for about 45 minutes until we got to the order window.


As the name implies, Crêpes à la Cart serves a variety of sweet and savory crêpes. Eric and I each ordered a savory crêpe, plus one sweet crêpe to share. I had the Crêpe Atlantic, made with smoked salmon, spinach, and onions. It was warm, creamy and delicious; extremely satisfying after a morning filled with snowshoeing. We shared a sweet crêpe made with Nutella and strawberries. So. Freaking. Delicious. But I love Nutella, so I knew it would be wonderful. This absolutely did not disappoint.

I’m glad we took the time to stop for crepes at Crepes à la Cart, and I would definitely say it was worth the wait. Are they as good as crepes in France? Well, no, but stateside they’re the best I’ve tried. Definitely an excellent, warm snack for a cold afternoon in Breckenridge. Don’t be dissuaded by the line — I assure you, you won’t be sorry you waited!

Crepes Interior

PS: My New Favorite Restaurant & Learning to Ski in Breckenridge

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    Hello! I'm Erika, a quiet girl living in the noisy city of Los Angeles with my husband Eric and my cat Cookies. I enjoy exploring new places, going on adventures, eating delicious food, and taking lots of pictures! >> Read more

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