Friday, December 30, 2011

Harpoon Belgian-Style Pale Ale

Harpoon Belgian-Style Pale Ale is crafted from a mix of American and Belgian brewing styles - also the newest craft beer by Harpoon since 2010. This hoppier, "Americanized" version is hopped with a super high alpha (bitter), Apollo and is also slightly more alcoholic than its Belgian relative - meant to be a session beer for all occasions. (Section 16B)

Alcohol Content: 5.8%
International Bitterness Units: 33
Malts: 2-Row Pale, Caramel, Munich
Hops: Apollo

Medium: 12oz bottle poured into a stemmed, wide-bowled water glass (a snifter, tulip, or oversized wine glass would be appropriate)
Price: $13.50 for a 12-pack Harpoon Sampler

Aroma: An overall fruity and spicy phenolic aroma dominates, hiding subtle biscuity and toasty notes. There is also a strong orange-like aroma possibly from the Apollo hops but most likely a result of fermentation.
Appearance: Pours for a golden amber to copper color with hints of orange/ tangerine hues. Carbonation appears to be very strong with a thick, creamy white head that dissipates after just a few seconds (lack of retention appropriate for style). Crystal clear.
Flavor: Phenolic, spicy, and sweet toasted malts sweep over the pallet first. Then, it is followed by a subtle bitterness that becomes more aggressive as it lingers (and as I finish the session). Fruity pear-like qualities hits about mid-end of each sip along with some sweet caramel and toasty notes. The finish is overall balanced, with sweet malty sensations forming on the tip of the mouth and minimal, bitter drying on the back of the mouth.
Mouthfeel: Strong carbonation with a creamy character may mislead one to think that it is heavy; rather, it has a moderate to light body, making it more of a session beer. It also has a slightly "chewy" feel to it, although I'm not sure of this appropriateness to style. Some drying.
Overall Impression: Seems to be a bit hoppier than other Belgian Pale Ales I have sampled before. This is hard to say for sure because of strong fruity esters and a sweet malt presence that makes it pretty balanced. Slightly higher alcohol content at 5.8% (typical range is 4.8-5.5%). Good for any occasion - and any quantity you wish.

Score: 40/50

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