Thursday, September 1, 2011

Uncharted Belgian IPA (Lighthouse)

So what gives a beer blogger the right to fire off his opinions about other peoples' creations? Beer bloggers are either fanboys who will say anything to hopefully become part of the 'in' crowd, or opinionated pricks who shoot their mouths off because they feel like it. Sadly I will never be part of the 'in' crowd and people have already designated me as the beer prick.
So here we go. It is always awkward to review beers that Dean has made. I say this because one day I might have to look my friend in the eye and say, "Buddy this beer tastes like ass, but the artwork is very nice." Today will not be one of those days. Despite the fact the Belgian IPA is not actually a real beer style, I still like it - no love it. Even Stephen Beaumont says that it is not a real beer style. Categorizations aside, it does adequately describe the beer. This is an unique IPA sensation because it uses hop varieties that are from the southern hemisphere. If you want to read more about this blended beer, check out beeronthero ck.

The nose is massive and hard to pin down because the aromas are so foreign. There is a solventy and earthy mixture of obscure tropic fruits. Guavas and passion fruits come to mind. At the start of the sip, the fruity/estery vapours mix with the alcohol to burn everything away. Once the tingling fades, there is a spicy wash of lightly astringent tropical fruits. Try to imagine a mix of guavas, cardamon, and unripe apricots. The bitterness is hoppy but not in a manner PNW hop addicts are used to. Malts? I'm sure they are there somewhere. Does it linger? It leaves a puzzling aftertaste that makes you head for the spice cabinet to try and determine what you are tasting. Well done! This beer was similar to Sierra Nevada's Southern Hemisphere Harvest.

Aftertaste +2
Alcohol Content +1 7.5%
Value +1
Appearance +1 great art by Michelle Landry


Tim Ayres said...

I had one tonight - loved it. Belgian IPA is my new favourite (non) style. Lighthouse has really stepped up their game with the bombers lately.

Dean said...

I hope we never do brew a beer that tastes of ass, but if so, I trust that I'll get that tap on the shoulder and the accompanying "Mate, you know I like you, but..." talk. Myself and all your good readers would expect nothing less.

BGT said...

First off "style" means nothing in the new world. I recently spoke to the brewmaster at Spinnakers, asking about the northwestern pacific fetish with hops, and how belgian styles would eventually play into beer making on the left coast.

He explained that, as north american brewers, they felt they had a lot of freedom. European brewers were the "keepers of the styles", in that they faithfully recreated established styles. IPA (and hop fever) wasn't a style until we realized alcohol and hops was a preservative and would last the trip from England to India.

In fact, Spinnaker's refused to call it's new brew a strong IPA, and has called it a "Northwest Ale", even though it has high hop content and high alcohol. Northwest Ale has slowly become a style into and of itself, utilizing new world hops like Cascade, Chinook, and Northern Brewer which provide a distinctly citrus profile to the beer. And lots of it.

My point is that styles are fluid, especially in the new world. How many companies will need to come out with Belgian IPA's before we call it a style? (Lighthouse, Phillips) I make a Belgian Tripple with coriander, kaffir lime leaf and ginger, and if kicks ass. The addition of citrusy hops rounds it out. It's a good time to be a beer drinker - a point with which you'd surely agree.

Unknown said...

Dean, based on previous releases and your taste in beer, I don't think this issue will ever arise.

Unknown said...

Wow, well said BGT. I happen to like styles, it adds a bit of quantifiable quality to brewing creations. An IPA should taste like an IPA. A Kolsch style should adhere to the style; high attenuated,not contain any diacetyl and have a light fruity nose. But styles are meant to improved upon and not ignored.