Monday, May 16th 2011
America's first ever canned Belgian-style IPA! Brewery Vivant is a new brewery located in a beautifully restored historic building in Grand Rapids, Michigan - a city which is quickly becoming a serious beer destination. Brewery Vivant is focusing on Belgian-style beers and has canned a traditional Saison/Farmhouse Ale called Farm Hand as well as a Belgian-style Pale Ale called Solitude. We can't wait to try them all and certainly look forward to future canned releases from the brewery.
From the Brewery Vivant site:
"This beer is made with a classic Belgian style yeast strain that gives the complexity and slight sweetness you may expect from a Belgian style ale, but then reaches deeper providing a smack-down of American hops. Served in a large tulip glass to capture and focus the hop aromas."
Here we go...
Pour - dark amber with some auburn highlights, a stark white inch of fluff sits on top and leaves some well formed lacing as it slowly dissipates.
Aroma - I smelled the familiar pine and citrus as soon as the can was cracked open. If you like your Belgian-style IPAs heavy on the hops this one is for you. Lots of great hop aroma is also accompanied by some spiciness and some nice floral notes. This smells very, very good.
Taste - one sip and we're in uncharted canned craft beer territory. The delicate spiciness of the Belgian yeast used in this brew shines through almost immediately in the first sip. The citrus, pine, orange and pineapple flavors that the West Coast hops impart are all extremely fresh and sharp. The finish is a bit dry on the tongue with some of that spicy, yeast flavors sticking around with the bitterness of the hops. Wow, this is just an all-around great tasting beer. It's thirst quenching, refreshing and just plain delicious.
Overall - This is a style I've come to enjoy more and more and am very happy to see it make its way to cans. Excellent job by the folks at Brewery Vivant! If you've not yet had a Belgian-style IPA or just haven't had this one yet I definitely highly recommend it. It's a great example of the style.
Would I buy more of it? - absolutely. If I lived within 3 hours of this brewery I'd be making a trip there this weekend to try some of this, and their other beers on tap, and also take some more home with me. Having only one can of this is just a tease!
Note - Belgian-style India Pale Ales have become increasingly popular both here in the US as well as in Belgium. More and more breweries in both countries are trying their hand in brewing this relatively new style of beer. Belgian IPAs tend to be a little sweeter than traditional American IPAs and are brewed with American hops and a Belgian yeast strain - which adds a spiciness and a flavor I've only ever been able to describe as that of, well, Belgian yeast. Combining the floral, citrus and pine of American hops with the unique flavors of the Belgian yeast has been a real success story as the cross-cultural globalization of beer continues to move forward.
Posted by Russ
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