Belgium is home to some of the world's most diverse beer styles--everything from crisp, refreshing witbiers to heavy Trappist tripels. This week's trio includes a unique Belgian pale and two very different American homages to Belgian brews.
Bavik Petrus Aged Pale
This brew is aged in oak casks, a style choice I'm not usually fond of, but here, it definitely works. It's a bright golden pour with a thin, white head. There's oak in the mix of aromas, along with funky, overripe green apple, lightly medicinal herb and sour cream, all of which works better than it sounds. There are lot's of crisp, tart apple flavors backed by a touch of citrus zest with a smooth, dry finish. This is an exceptional brew that begs to be paired with food.
New Belgium Trip Series Buckwheat Belgian-Style Ale
Crafted in Seattle in collaboration with Elysian Brewing Company, this unique bomber pours a dark coffee color with a short-lived mocha froth. There's toasted grain, lightly sweet caramel malt and a touch of spice on the nose. This beer is delectably smooth and creamy on the palate, with flavors of yeasty wheat bread, roasted malt and soft spice. Brewed with dates and dandelion, some of the first comes through on the finish. This is a delicious addition to the Trip Series.
Ovila Abbey Quad with Plums
A continuation of the California partnership between Sierra Nevada and the monks from the Abbey of New Clairvaux, this Belgian quad includes a dose of plums harvested by the monks. Cork finished, this ebony pour sports a thick, persistent mocha head. Sour fruit aromas with a touch of grain dominate the nose. The just sweet dark chocolate flavors are balanced by a tart plum mid-palate, along with dark toast and a touch of bitterness on the finish. At a boozy 10.2 percent alcohol, this brew warrants sipping.