October 2010 was the bottling date on my Great Divide Fresh Hop Pale Ale so I wasn't expecting a whole lot of fresh hop oomph from it. Possibly no bad thing: I've always found the competing product from Sierra Nevada to be just a smidge too busily acidic. Hoping for something mellower and more mature, I poured.
A slightly hazy beer came forth, on the darker side of amber with a thick layer of froth. Not much by way of hop aroma but some lovely big caramel and candyfloss malt, more than you might expect from a mere 6.1% ABV. The big malt gives it lots of body, though the higher-falutin' hop tones are quiet, there's some lovely juicy middle range flavours of mango and peach, and under that a firm but enjoyable spiky spiced bitterness. The weight keeps the fizz in check and the total sum is a relaxing sippable pale ale, hop-driven but showing well-judged balance too.
Westmalle Dubbel - *Origin: Belgium | Date: 2008 | ABV: 7% | On The Beer Nut: October 2007* It's a longtime favourite today. Westmalle Dubbel goes back to the very beginnings...
1 week ago