Available: AK, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, MI, MN, MO, NC, NE, NJ, NM, NY, OH, OR, PA, RI, SC, TN, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI
Visually exciting and sensual, turbid golden color has jewel-like highlights. The creamy thick head is lovely, hanging on and on, finally yielding to a pattern of lace. The head is pleasant, sweet and malty. Unfortunately, it is on the palate that this beer disappoints. It tastes green and young—quite acidic, although slightly masked with a sugar-like character. For such a strong (the brewer refers to it as a “triple nightcap”) beer, I would prefer something maltier and rounder.
The beer pours beautifully. A firm, rocky, parchment-colored head forms above a hazy, dark orange, marmalade body. It has enormous freshness with intense orange pith, peel and oil character on the nose. There’s a noticeable whiff of alcohol and barley sugar. (Maybe some vanilla, too?) A faintly medicinal, cough candy start gives way to barley sugar sweetness; delicate smoothness to exquisite warming alcohol. Then an intense, superb hop bitterness. The finish is cleansing, drying, faintly acidic with a close-like palate-numbing quality. Hop aroma, malty sweetness, hop bitterness and alcohol flow seamlessly together. Instantly appetizing.
Like the New River Pale Ale, an example of a homebrewer/entrepeneur’s recipe impeccably executed at a well-regarded brewery, in this case De Proef Brouwerj. Despite what the synthetic cork might suggest, this beer has a pleasant old-fashioned quality. Earthy, complex flavors quickly follow a sweet candy-like aroma that includes a bit of toffee. Grassy and spicy throughout, with hop bitterness playing against orchard fruits, followed by a dry, minerally finish. That where-did-it-come-from? flavor is a bit offsetting, perhaps an imperfect union of brewing water and hops.