Bridgeport Brewing Co.
Available: AL, AZ, CA, CO, ID, MT, NM, OR, WA
A “homage” to Belgian blonde ale from Oregon’s oldest craft brewery, located in a former rope factory in the historic Pearl District of Portland.
Alcohol (wt.): n/a
Alcohol (vol.): 6.0
Original Gravity: 1056
Final gravity: n/a
Malts used: light European two-row malt
Hops used: Styrian, Saaz, Hallertau Hersbrucker
Pouring hazy gold, this “surprise” of a beer has a slightly sweet, fruity aroma reminiscent of…Duvel? Yup, there are the pear and dryly spicy notes, although even at its greater potency, the Belgian original is drier and shows less of its strength in the nose. The flavor of this ale is still slightly Duvel-esque, but different, too. Sweetish, fruity and perfumey up front, the body dries nicely to a faintly caramelly and rich, green apple-and-spice flavor with spicy hop kicking in at the finish. I’ll reserve this for the cheese course, perhaps with mild (but stinky) soft Belgian or French cheeses.
The label leaves me to make my own assumptions about what kind of beer this is. Yes. A blonde ale as labeled. Wheat ale? With Belgian yeast-influenced character. What it lacks in head retention it makes up with fruity, full-flavored yeast-sedimented earthy resonance. Pleasant hop flavor balancing rather dry malt character. Clean aftertaste, despite the edginess in overall taste. Aptly named Supris(e?). You begin with no preconceptions, but end with pleasant contentment.
The ale pours cloudy gold, forming a white fluffy head that quickly drops to a collar. The nose is brightly citrusy, a lemon-orange rush with a floral overlay of hops. The bitterness is crisp and light up front, giving way to a lightly sweet fruity center that’s followed by a clean, slightly acidic finish. Despite the generic “blonde ale” moniker, this seems a derivation of Belgian wheat beer and a very nice one at that. Perfect with barbecue or spicy grilled shrimp.