Style: Belgian Double IPA/ American Tripel
Brewery’s Note: “Le Freak is the first-ever hybrid ale of its kind: the convergence of a Belgian-Style Trippel with an American Imperial IPA. Spawned over barstool pontifications between Publican and Brewmaster, this zesty Amarillo dry-hopped, bottle-conditioned marvel entices with fruity Belgian yeast aromatics and a firm, dry finish. Experience a legendary beer phenomenon.”
The beer pours out the color of rosé wine, with a slight oranging tinge to it. A sudsy head of creamy, off-white bubbles forms above the glass, and then withers into fluffy scrim over the beer, leaving wispy patches of lacing to patchwork the sides of the glass. On the nose, the beer smells of crisp hay, lemon grass, subtle sour dough and honey, herbal hops, very soft clove and funky esters with the end of the sniff. The aroma has me thinking more farmhouse IPA or Belgian Pale Ale, rather than Belgian IPA, but I don’t hate it by any measure. On the tongue, the beer tastes funky and bready sweet upfront, but this slowly unfurls into a dry, herbal and piney bitter finish, with a brief hiccup of near funky acidity in the middle and close of the sip, and just a ghost of the booze hidden in this Belgian bitter bomb. In flavor, the beer begins as fruity esters, like bananas and cream along with mixed grains, this blends with more rustic farmhouse hay and doughy bread as the sip progresses. These flavors are then slowly infected with bitter grass, which moves into bitter herbs, and brushes into pine nettle territory, clearly displaying the alpha acids on the tongue, but not in a displeasing fashion. The aftertaste is quite mild and pleasant, with just a ghost of banana funk and a lingering bitter burn on the tongue. In the mouth, the beer feels medium + bodied, with a creamy, gripping mouthfeel, and middling carbonation that does provide a slight snap to the palate. The bitterness of the beer puts a good bite into the tongue, and leaves a resinous astringency over the entire tongue when it leaves, though not in an unpleasant way (if you are looking for a dose of lupulin). Overall, I like this beer, and I was expecting to be underwhelmed. To me, it has a decidedly farmhouse tinge to it (whatever that means) especially in the yeast characteristics, which seem more “barnyard hay and grass” rather than a tripel’s “bananas and grainy cream.” I don’t see the farmhouse tinge as a problem though, as I find the execution takes on the heavy hops well, and makes the beer crisp and drinkable for its ABV. I’ve always been underwhelmed by Green Flash, which I mostly chalk up to me being on the east coast and getting their beers after their “hoppy prime.” This beer, however, is still in its prime to me. A great sipper that could probably age and mellow for at least a year, though it will lose its intense hop bite. One to try.