Breweries are sometimes overlooked for various reasons the quality may not be up to snuff, or the beer is a little too hard to get. For Redhook, neither of those are an issue.

Breweries are sometimes overlooked for various reasons the quality may not be up to snuff, or the beer is a little too hard to get.


For Redhook, neither of those are an issue.


Redhook brews quality beers ranging from fine to excellent, and thanks to a partnership with Anheuser-Busch, you'd be hard-pressed to find a liquor store that does not have at least one Redhook beer in stock.


They're overlooked, I think, because they are almost too easy to get.


Redhook, which has breweries and brewpubs both in Seattle and Portsmouth, N.H., is so widely available, beer drinkers are almost desensitized when they see the Redhook label in the stores.


I admit, I do the same thing.


I'll see Redhook in the cooler, think about getting it, and then grab something else that is harder to get, rationalizing in my mind I can get Redhook anytime I want.


But if you skip over Redhook's newest limited release beer, the Belgian Tripel, you're making a mistake.


Not only is it a fine interpretation of the style, but once it is gone, you may not get another chance to try it.


Tripel, a style popularized by Trappist monks, are typically a dark golden color, sweet and higher in alcohol.


Redhook brewers wanted to make the tripel as authentic as possible, Master Brewer Greg Deuhs said.


"We were going with the concept that we wanted a true-to-style Belgian tripel," he said. "We used imported candied sugar, Belgian yeast and we aged it for five months. It took a lot of effort. We wanted to do something that was completely different than anything Redhook has ever done in the past."


I thoroughly enjoyed the tripel. It has slight vanilla flavors, as well as some fruity flavors.


It is sweet, but in a range of appropriate sweetness for the style. Nothing bothers me more about a beer than when the sweetness is out of whack.


And despite the hefty, 10.1 percent alcohol by volume, there is little to no alcohol flavor in the beer.


"It's like any good beer from Belgium or the Netherlands of that style the alcohol kind of sneaks up on you," Deuhs said.


This is one of Redhook's best beers probably falling second to another limited release, the Double Black Stout, which is released during the winter.


The Double Black Stout, a beer for coffee lovers, is a great beer full bodied, with a nice, complex blend of strong coffee flavors and hints of chocolate and roasted barley.


If, for some reason, you miss the Tripel, don't worry, Deuhs said. The next limited release will be something that will make beer drinker sit up and take notice.


"We have something up our sleeves we think is going to be very unique that no one else does," said Deuhs, who would not reveal what the beer will be.


"It's a completely new concept of making a limited release beer," he continued. "We think it's going to be rather unique and a very drinkable, high-end beer."


Limited and special release beers are not the only beers worth trying from Redhook.


The ESB, or English-style bitter, is one of their most popular beers. Not the most traditional of the style, it's still a simple sipper of a beer.


"It has a rich, complex malt flavor to it," said Deuhs. "The hops in it are a little bit subtle, but it comes through in the finish."


The Long Hammer India Pale Ale is in the middle range of IPAs when it comes to bitterness. It may not be a hop head's favorite IPA, but it is another easy-to-drink beer when you just want to relax after a long day of work.


The Sunrye is the brewery's summer beer. The rye is something different than most summer beers, giving it a nice spicyness.


Other seasonal beers include the Late Harvest Autumn Ale, which Deuhs describes as a cross between an amber ale and an Oktoberfest.


The Winterhook is Redhook's best seasonal.


"The Winterhook recipe is tweaked each year," said Deuhs. "It's the same style of beer a dark holiday ale, but this year, I think the recipe will be well received."


Norman Miller is a Daily News staff writer. For questions, comments, suggestions or recommendations, e-mail nmiller@cnc.com or call 508-626-3823. Check out The Beer Nut blog at http://blogs.townonline.com/beernut/.