I was in my local beer haven the other day, Bierkraft in Brooklyn, just perusing, when I noticed a new Belgian IPA, the Belgica from Great Divide. We all know how good the Belgians are at making exceptional beer. However, the Belgian IPA represents an interesting case of influences crossing the Atlantic in both directions (not just from Europe to America, but from America to Europe as well). Another symptom of the craft beer revolution! These Belgian IPAs — brilliantly described by the Alstrom brothers at Beer Advocate — are becoming more widely developed on both sides of the ocean. The Houblon Choufffe Dobbelen IPA Tripel from the Belgian brewery Brasserie d’Achouffe is one of my favorites, and is a rare example of a European brewery using American Hops, WooHoo! Well, some of the hop varieties are American; the Tomahawk and the Amarillo are American, while the Saaz is European (from the Czech Republic mainly). This beer style is smooth and clean but with the bitterness all hop-lovers crave. Some purists think it’s a sin to be mixing the Belgian yeast with the American hop. Why mess with a good thing, they ask. Well, maybe for the sake of variety, or because it tastes great. Some of America’s most recognizable craft breweries are catching on to this fad, including Stone Brewing Co. (Cali-Belgique), Sixpoint Craft Ales (Belgian IPA – I guess Shane Welch, Sixpoint’s brewmaster, wasn’t his creative beer-naming self that day) and Green Flash Brewing Co. (Le Freak- now that’s a name). I for one hope the style sticks, anybody agree?
Don’t you just love the d’Achouffe Gnome. He’s so cute.