08 September 2008

Belgian, however you look at it

I was underwhelmed with my last Urthel experience, but was looking forward to Hop-It, a "superieur hoppig blond". It's 9.5% ABV and boasts "large quantities of aroma hops". Naturally I was expecting something in an American vein from the Belgian.

As usual, I was way off. No major hoppy aroma hit me on opening, nor even when poured into a chalice glass. It is a lovely colour, though: a pale amber gold with one of those typically Belgian creamy heads.

And on tasting... it's a tripel, straight up, no messing tripel. The bitterness is that very Belgian spicy sort, redolent of pine and lemon juice without a trace of grapefruit or sherbet. There's a hefty malt profile too, giving the bitter flavour a stickiness that keeps it on the lips for ages.

On mature reflection (one paragraph later) perhaps tripel isn't the best analogy. Instead, imagine Duvel with less fizz and the bitterness turned waaay up. Regardless, this is a highly enjoyable sipper: not one I'd drink a whole lot of, but a superb standalone.


  1. Bailey6:13 pm

    In my very limited experience, Belgian beers that boast of their hoppiness are often really boasting about their relative bitterness. A less fizzy, more bitter Duvel sounds very appetising though.

  2. Hop-It is very good, isn't it? I'm surprised at your previous disappointing experienc as I have found all four Urthel beers to be very enjoyable (and have a mixed case of them in my cellar right now). Horses for courses, I guess.