Thursday, December 22, 2011

West Side Belgian-Style IPA (Harriet Brewing, Minneapolis, MN)

Drank a growler last weekend from Harriet Brewing, and their West Side Belgian-Style IPA is my new favorite oxymoron.  Just a few years ago this beer wouldn't have made sense, and now it seems to be the flagship and only year round beer of a new brewery.  I do love beer and the beer world that's ever changing.

Fluffy white head builds up with tight clean bubbles.  Pretty golden ale with copper highlights.  My picture is a bit dark compared to reality. For me, this beer is all about the nose.  Big and overwhelming, it perfect for my below average olfactory abilities.  A brazen blend of strong hop and assertive Belgian yeast.  The yeasty characteristics yield to the hops as it warms, and creates a very pleasant temperature cycle that encourages a nice, slow sip over an afternoon or evening.  

Strong saison-like peppery note.  I don't know the yeast, but it's an assertive yeast with strong characteristics, much like yeast determined beers of 't IJ in Amersterdam.  No indication of the hops used except that they are Northwest, but the clear citrusy smell is intriguing.  A blend of lemon zest, grapefruit, lemon, and a slight pine and resin earthiness.  I think the real genius of this beer is how the hop and yeast spices cross each other's boundaries and create something more than the whole.  

Bready malt base supports a clean hop and yeast spice that matches the nose exactly.  40 IBU seems a bit light for the hop punch in the nose, but the yeast is giving amazing support in the spiciness.  Lingering dryness makes this beer a real pleasure to drink.  I see myself returning to the brewery for another growler as a regular habit, especially paired with a second seasonal growler.

A review of Harriet Brewing itself is coming later when I get time to do the tour.   In the meantime, a trip for a growler fill is well worth the effort if you're around Hiawatha and Lake St.  

1 comment:

  1. This is one to savor. you'd best just get yourself a bottle from the any where and taste it for your self.