Billy's Beer Blog - A Layman's Guide to Great Beer


Posts Tagged ‘Belgian India Pale Ale’

Christmas Bels

December 27th, 2010 Bill Zavorskas 2 comments

Six Degrees was no apparition this Christmas Eve

Anne and I spent Christmas weekend in Savannah, which is becoming a tradition for us this time of year. As a local stated, “In Augusta, they ask you which church you belong to. In Charleston, they ask what your family name is. In Savannah, they ask what you drink.”

We arrived around dinner time on Christmas Eve, and were pleased to find that quite a few places remained open. We headed over to Moon River Brewing across from our hotel. This wonderfully eclectic brewery has been featured on Ghost Hunters, and is so laid back that you can show up one night, accidentally crash a wedding reception, and then be allowed to stay and drink from the open bar as long as you tip the bartender!

I started out with a pint of Moon River Six Degrees (Moon River Brewing Co.; Savannah, GA; Belgian Strong Pale Ale; ABV: 5.1), a refreshing golden ale. Golden honey in color, Six Degrees has notes of citrusy fruit such as bananas balanced by honey and light grainy malt. The crisp clean taste of this Belgium complimented the spicy Bajou shrimp and ravioli appetizer that I ordered.

For round two, we joined everyone in a Christmas Eve toast. I had a pint of their winter seasonal, Moon River Nick’s Balls of Gold (Moon River Brewing Co.; Savannah, GA; Belgian India Pale Ale; ABV: 7.0), which is their Belgian Abbey/American IPA hybrid. Amber in color, it has notes of floral hops and cinnamon spices with a nice warming feel at the close. This Belgian IPA paired nicely with the blackened sea scallops that I had for the main course.

After dinner, we headed over to Rocks on the River for dessert. Anne and I shared the Mascarpone cheesecake with blueberry sauce, and struck up a conversation with Dave and Karen behind the bar. I finished up with a pint of Allagash White (Allagash Brewing Co.; Portland, ME; Witbier; ABV: 5.1). Golden in color, this superb witbier has notes of Belgian wheat and citrusy fruit such as oranges up front, followed by coriander spices and a hint of vanilla with a crisp clean finish. Allagash White was a fitting ale to wrap up the evening.

All in all, it was a great evening and start to the weekend.

Moon River Brewing Company on Urbanspoon

Rocks on the River on Urbanspoon


August 9th, 2010 Bill Zavorskas 4 comments

I was in my natural habitat at Wazoo 2010

Anne and I had a blast at Wazoo 2010 this past Saturday night at the Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa. In addition to having more than 250 beers and beverages from around the world, the event featured cuisine from restaurants as well as live music from area based artists Velvet Jones, Impulse, and The Paper Stanleys. We also had a chance to get out of the heat for a bit at the zoo’s Beastly Beverage Club, which featured dinner and live music as well. Wazoo 2010 was a well organized brewfest, and I had the chance to sample some old favorites, as well as some new ones. I listed a sampling of the latter below.

Samuel Adams Sample A – Belgian IPA; Boston Beer Co.; Boston, MA; Belgian India Pale Ale; ABV: 8.0. Part of this year’s 2010 Longshot Series, this ale is my pick for the brewery’s 6th annual Beer Lover’s Choice. Golden in color, with big notes of citrusy and piny hops balanced by sweet malt and a spicy undertone from the Belgian yeast. As full-bodied as it is complex.

Samuel Adams Sample B – American Rye Ale; Boston Beer Co.; Boston, MA; Rye Beer; ABV: 5.3. This Longshot Series candidate pours a deep mahogany color and has notes of rye and roasted malt complimented by citrusy and floral hops. Very easy to drink with a nice dry finish.

Saint Somewhere Pays du Soleil; Saint Somewhere Brewing Co.; Tarpon Springs, FL; Saison / Farmhouse Ale; ABV: 8.0. A delicious saison from area based brewery Saint Somewhere. Amber in color, the big notes of tart and citrusy fruit are complimented by sweet caramel and toffee with a sour finish typical of a wild ale.

Saint Somewhere Saison Athene; Saint Somewhere Brewing Co.; Tarpon Springs, FL; Saison / Farmhouse Ale; ABV: 7.5. An excellent farmhouse ale. A golden saison brewed with chamomile, fresh rosemary and black pepper. The array of spices are backed by notes of sweet malt and citrusy fruit with a crisp clean finish.

Sierra Nevada Tumbler Autumn Brown Ale; Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.; Chico, CA; American Brown Ale; ABV: 5.5. A smooth brown ale, Tumbler has notes of sweet caramel and roasted malt, balanced by piny hops and a brown sugary backbone.

Dunedin The Rock Double IPA; Dunedin Brewery; Dunedin, FL; Imperial India Pale Ale; ABV: 8.0. From the local brewery’s Brewmaster Series, this DIPA pours a burnt orange color and has big notes of citrusy fruit balanced by caramel malt and piny hops with a slightly bitter finish.

Southampton Pumpkin Ale; Southampton Publick House; Southampton, NY; Pumpkin Ale; ABV: 5.5. An exceptional pumpkin ale from the Long Island based brewery. Copper in color, with the pumpkin pie presence complimented by sweet caramel and cinnamon spices.

Tampa Bay McBrews Scotch Ale; Tampa Bay Brewing Co.; Tampa, FL; Scottish Ale; ABV: 7.0. A smooth, easy drinking Scottish ale. Amber in color, with notes of sweet malt and chocolate balanced by light hops with a resiny finish.

Brooklyn Sorachi Ace; Brooklyn Brewery; Brooklyn, NY; Saison / Farmhouse Ale; ABV: 7.6. A superb saison from the acclaimed brewery. Golden in color, with the Japanese Sorachi hops balanced by notes of citrusy fruit, sweet malt, and peppery spices. Refreshing from start to finish.

Southern Tier Farmer’s Tan; Southern Tier Brewing Co.; Lakewood, NY; Imperial Pale Lager; ABV: 9.0. An eclectic, straw colored imperial lager. Big nose of citrusy and piny hops complimented by notes of sweet malt, wheat, and peppery spices.

Leffe Blonde; Anheuser-Busch InBev; Leuven, Belgium; Belgian Pale Ale; ABV: 6.6. A golden, easy drinking Belgian ale. The notes of citrusy fruit, particularly bananas, are balanced by sweet malt and light spices such as cloves.

We concluded the evening by sampling an excellent dopplebock from The Beer and Wine Makers Pantry. Called Strawberry Dopplebock, it poured a dark amber color with big notes of strawberries, roasted malt, and a hint of chocolate. I’m guessing the ABV is around 6-6.5%.

All in all, our brewfari was a total success!

Not So Fatal Attraction

July 7th, 2010 Bill Zavorskas No comments

Raging Bitch won't land you in hot water

We watched Fatal Attraction for the umpteenth time the other night. As most of you know, Dan Gallagher (Michael Douglas) thought that he could have his cake and eat it too, but instead wound up with rabbit stew. Ironically, I just had a beer whose title would be a fitting description of Alex Forrest (Glenn Close).

Flying Dog Raging Bitch (Flying Dog Brewery, Frederick, MD; Belgian India Pale Ale; ABV: 8.3) is another excellent ale from the former Colorado, and now Maryland based, brewery. As mentioned in previous posts, Belgian IPAs have become a trend in the last year or two, and Raging Bitch takes its place among the better ones. It pours a light amber color, with notes of citrusy fruit such as bananas and grapefruit in the nose and taste. The latter is complimented by honey, sweet malt, and piny hops with a slight bitterness at the finish. Raging Bitch is as smooth as it is complex, so the 8.3% alcohol content isn’t very noticeable. All in all, I found Raging Bitch to be a really enjoyable Belgian IPA.

This is one Raging Bitch without any drama, and I strongly suggest giving it a try.

Solid Oak

May 25th, 2010 Bill Zavorskas 2 comments

Oak Aged Unearthly takes the original up a notch

I stopped by Mr. Beery’s for Happy Hour and to say hi to Mark and the gang. As it would turn out, several types of IPAs would showcase the evening.

We ended up kicking the Cigar City Jai Lai keg, and it was replaced on tap by Southern Tier Oak Aged Unearthly (Southern Tier Brewing Co.; Lakewood, NY; Imperial India Pale Ale; ABV: 11.0). As great as the original Unearthly is, this IPA takes it to the next level. It pours a deep amber color and the nose has notes of piny hops and oakiness. Both are reflected in the taste as well, balanced by sweet caramel and a woody bourbon backbone. Oak Aged Unearthly is silky smooth for an beer of its potency, and you’ll want to savor it slowly to truly appreciate this ale.

Jai Lai and Oak Aged Unearthly would have made for a fine evening on their own, but Mark then broke out a couple of ales from his private stock.

Founders Centennial IPA (Founders Brewing Co.; Grand Rapids, MI; India Pale Ale; ABV: 7.2), like Oak Aged UnEarthly, is a silky smooth IPA. It pours a honey orange color with notes of citrusy and piny hops in the nose and taste. They’re complimented in the latter by sweet caramel and toasted malt with a nice clean finish. Like Oak Aged Unearthly, this ale turned out to be a big hit with everyone.

Nebraska Hop God (Nebraska Brewing Co.; Papillion, NE; Belgian India Pale Ale; ABV: 9.2) is an eclectic yet easy drinking Belgian IPA. Hop God pours a murky golden color with a citrusy presence throughout the nose and taste. Flavors of citrus fruit are backed by piny hops and spices with a slightly bitter finish. The ABV of 9.2% is somewhat noticeable, so Hop God won’t sneak up on you.

I highly recommend each of these ales, and thank Mark for his generosity.

Get Your (Le) Freak On

May 11th, 2010 Bill Zavorskas No comments

Le Freak, C'est Chic

Belgian IPAs, which typically blend Belgian ales with India Pale Ales, have become vogue in the last couple of years. So I was eager to try an offering from one of my favorite breweries.

Green Flash Le Freak (Green Flash Brewing Co.; Vista, CA; Belgian India Pale Ale; ABV: 9.2) blends their excellent Trippel and Imperial IPA into a smooth full-bodied ale. The color is burnt orange, and the nose is very floral with hints of citrusy fruit and yeast. The taste has a definite presence of banana and other citrusy fruit, complimented by honey, spices, and big piny hops with a slightly bitter finish. The Belgian influence in this beer actually reminded me of St. Bernardus Watou Tripel, with the IPA character very apparent in the hoppy background.

If you’re a fan of Belgian IPAs, I highly recommend that you let your Le Freak flag fly and give it a try!