Haven’t had one of these in a while. Let’s crack a crown and jump right in… Cloudy coppery color, slim off -white head…nice…Aromatic bitterness greets the nose…classic English-style hopping. Green apple tinge to it, with a bit of the pine thing from American hops, mixed with caramel malt.Tastin’ it…bitter hop smack on the palate, then the apple and a bit of butterscotch,…bitterness reigns, though isn’t overpowering, just right for an English style pale ale. I’m no expert, I can’t say if it’s Fuggles or East Kent Goldings, I just know it tastes British, and fits right in for the style.Though I favor American style pale ales and IPAs these days, I can drink this down without a problem. Just enough hops and flavor to keep my tastebuds occupied. Haiku #9 (for week 10)…”Lake Superior/ Northern-most of the Great Lakes/ not bad beer, either.”
When I buy an ale in a bar or liquor store this is how I expect the beer to taste. The Lake Superior Special Ale is refreshing and hoppy without being overpowering. The type of beer you could drink all night without getting sick of the taste. It doesn’t wow me with unique or powerful flavors but I don’t want that from every beer.
Most Belgian beers tend to be more like wines in alcoholic heft and complication of flavor. It’s nice to see a Belgian style which does not want to knock me over, and I can enjoy a few with friends, or pair with a meal. I enjoyed this beer. It has a great fruity flavor from the yeast and a nice spicy bite from the German hops. It is subtle enough that it complements almost any meal, but I noticed the best return with salty fried foods like calamari or onion rings. The fruit and the hops really come to the fore with that tasting, go figure.
I had a realization after my first sip of this Belgian Pale Ale: I’m not a fan of the style. I had one a month or so ago and was surprised that I didn’t really like it, blaming in on the brewery being relatively new and still working the kinks out. But then I had the newest offering from Brau Brothers Brewing, the Frame Straightener, also a Belgian Pale, and my reaction was the same: eh. It did get a little better towards the end of the bottle, after my palate had warmed, or maybe because I knew I had a Furious waiting for me.
That being said, I suppose it’s a pretty good representative of the style. The Belgian yeast comes through the mellow hops, and isn’t overwhelmed by the malts. And I guess that’s what I miss. I prefer a little more sugar in my Belgians, a little more comlexity, an ABV closer to eight or nine percent. Sure, you could have 2 or 3 of the FE Pale Ales, but after one, I was ready for something a little more interesting.