Pint 6 – Green Flash Le Freak

January 10, 2009

This is the third and final Green Flash beer I bought during my end of year trip to the beer store. The others were solid, but this is superlative. It’s only my second Belgian IPA fusion beer, but now I think I get it. The first I had was the Collaboration Ale made by Stone, Mikkeller, and AleSmith, and when I had it I’d already had two pints and might not have been able to detect all the flavors. This time, they all came through in Green Flash’s Le Freak.

An amazing fusion.

An amazing fusion.

It pours an awesome clear golden color.

Pours a nice clear golden.

Pours a nice clear golden.

For such a lightly colored beer, it has a wide, complex array of intense flavors. There’s the hops, mostly bittering, and then the yeasty Belgian flavor that comes. I bet that you have to be very careful not to overpower the yeast with too many aroma hops. This beer tastes like what a super-hopped Duvel might taste like.

After a while, I poured the rest of the bottle and clouded up the pint a bit.

Clouded up a little when I added the rest of the bottle.

Clouded up a little when I added the rest of the bottle.

The bottle says this is the combination of an imperial IPA and a Belgian trippel. I looked up trippel to check the spelling and was surprised to find that it’s a relatively recent development – Westmalle made the first one in 1934. It packs a punch at 9%, but is only slightly warm on the way down. Not much sign of the alcohol. While I do love me some aroma hops in my IPAs, I can dig the replacement with the yeasty flavors. This is a fantastic brew. Definitely need to round out my Green Flash tasting with a few more bottles.

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Pint 2 – Green Flash Hop Head Red Ale

January 1, 2009

New Year’s beer number two cut through the Mexican instantly. I could smell the hops right after I opened the bottle. The label describes it as “resinous,” and that is an accurate description. It also asks slyly whether this might be a Red IPA, a rhetorical question no doubt.

Resinous.

Resinous.

I can’t remember the last true red ale I’ve had. Actually, the only one I can remember is Harpoon’s seasonal that I believe they release around St. Patty’s Day. I drank five of those in one sitting. The Hop Head, however, is not that kind of beer. It’s much closer to the West Coast IPA. I’d need another bottle or two to be able to tell the difference clearly, but from what I could tell, there’s some of that intense caramel maltiness from Caramel 60 or 80 malt. It hit at the same time as the hoppiness on the back end of the spectrum.

Definitely a bit amber, but perhaps not all that different from the Nut Brown.

Definitely a bit amber, but perhaps not all that different from the Nut Brown.

Only other strange thing to note is that it had a lot more yeast than the Nut Brown. (I always pour the full bottle – yeasties are good for you.) I need to do a side to side to side comparison to be sure, but I think I prefer the West Coast IPA. That will have to wait until after I try some of Green Flash’s other beers. Very cool brewery.


Pint 1 – Green Flash Nut Brown Ale

January 1, 2009

I’ve gotten into Green Flash recently thanks to a bar close to where I live. I’ve only ever had their West Coast IPA, which is such a solid beer. I picked up two bottles (this and their red ale) after I finished work for the New Year’s holiday. Not a bad deal at 500 yen a pop. This beer is solid. Really drinkable. Brits would probably say it’s too carbonated, so I’d hesitate to add the “English” to the brown ale as the Japanese back label did. It’s 5%, so I’d call it a session beer if it were a little weaker. A perfect starter beer as it probably wouldn’t be able to bust through more intense flavors after you’ve shocked your palate.

Solid, but doesn't match with Mexican food.

Solid, but doesn't match with Mexican food.

Unfortunately I made Mexican food for the roommates last night, and this beer was a little mild. It made it clear why a nice, stinky Pilsner is the perfect match for Mexican. Having experienced the IPA, I was hoping to be overwhelmed by the nuttiness and was not. Will have to give this beer another shot when I’m not eating Mexican. Fortunately it’s in a safe price range.

Nice and brown.

Nice and brown.