Style: Hoppy Belgian Pale Ale
From: Placentia, CA
Brewery’s Note: “The Bruery and Maine Beer Company got together and cooked up something special for you: fourthmeal. It isn’t brunch; it isn’t “linner.” It’s a hoppy Belgian-style ale that brings aspects of both breweries to the table: fruity, Belgian yeast esters, a crisp, bready backbone, citrus and piney hop characteristics, and a dry, hop-forward finish. There’s no one shouting “come n’ git it” when it’s time to dine – just mouth-watering, dry-hopped aromatics, signaling that it’s time for fourthmeal.”
Hoppy Easter everyone….
The beer pours a creamy, golden orange; sunburst bright, but with a little bit of the late afternoon drawing in. It pours with a rocky, off-white head of soapy bubbles. The head drops to a quarter of a fingers width quickly as it sits, leaving fat strands and spatter lacing along the edges in a nice web-work. In the body, the beer is clear and clean, but cloudy and nearly opaque. On the nose, it smells of big, citrus, and juicy pine American hops with a little bit of mint, herbs, and booze. There is a touch more bite and booze to the nose than I usually get from MBC, but my drinking of the Bruery’s clean beer is minimal, so I can’t say if that’s in their style. It’s like a spicy/minty mango fruit with gushes of grapefruit and citrusy pine rolled up in spicy, minty booze. It’s not my favorite hop character, and I was actually hoping for a touch more herbal and spicy hop qualities from this beer, but it is hoppy and complex. The belgo character of the ale is subtle in the nose, perhaps giving a touch of spice and whispers of bread beneath the Late 00’s American hops bite (does that make sense?). On the tongue, the beer tastes bitter with mild hints of sweetness. Acidity is subtly present on the edges of the tongue, revealing much of the minimal Belgian influence, and providing a very slight citrus snap in between the minty bitters and a touch of booze spice and heat. There is a slight caramel/bread back, very much akin to a dryer from-the-Late-00’s DIPA. The hops are bitter minty, grapefruit, pine resin, and herbs & dirt. The herbal minty bitters are the key flavoring, blending in with the spicy booze finish to make it reminiscent of nettles and pine. The start is still mango and grapefruit heavy, with the grapefruit quickly turning to bitter pith and then falling into the pine and mint. The aftertaste is of bitter and piney resin with touches of white grapefruit juice rinse with a boozy spice flavor added in. In the mouth, the beer is medium bodied, with a middling creamy carb, but a definite bite from the bitters and a touch of boozy heat. The beer is snappy, slightly spicy, and sharp in the mouth, making it refreshing, slightly quenching, but also a little harsh. When the beer leaves, the mouth is left dry, sticky, and a little bitten. It’s a feeling akin to those IBU kings of yesteryear, biting the tongue and touching on astringency in a not awful, but not superb kind of way. Overall, this is not a terrible beer, but not what I was expecting. From what I have had of the Bruery, and from MBC’s portfolio, I was hoping for a little more yeast forward and delicate Belgian Pale Ale. Instead, this is big hop bomb akin to (I’ve said this a couple times now…) a Late ‘00’s DIPA. It’s good, it tastes nostalgic, but I’m a needy bitch and I wanted more from these breweries teaming up. Not bad, but nothing special, and needing more yeast character.
Thanks for the beer Jeff!