Want a slightly hoppier Belgian beer? You have a few choices, but here is a really good one.
Poperings Hommel ale is a Belgian IPA style ale. The name Hommel is a sort of local slang term for hops in the region (Poperinge). Oddly enough, hommel also means bumblebee in both Dutch and Flemish. I'm going to go ahead and assume that they didn't substitute bumblebees for hops and continue on with my drinking. Poperings Hommel is 7.5% ABV, so it packs a punch, but this actually isn't all that bad in terms of Belgian IPAs. La Chouffe Houblon is 9% ABV and they are the same style. As you can see by the photos, the beer pours a wonderful hazy amber color with a fluffy, pure white head. At this point, if you didn't know anything about the beer, it might just look like an unfiltered pale ale, a hefeweizen, or maybe a white IPA, but naturally you would be wrong. Horribly, horribly wrong.
The Belgian IPA, in my opinion, is the well rounded, kind, under-appreciated brother, while the American IPA is the obnoxious brother that is fun, but gets drunk and tries to fight people at parties. In this allegory, the English IPA is the oldest brother, who is handsome and polite, but ultimately boring, so he is over shadowed by his younger brothers. Obviously these are a bit of a hyperbole, but you get the point. One of my friends likes to say that he likes American IPAs because he likes a drink that fights back. True fact. The Belgian IPA takes a more subtle route. They are strong, yes. They have a lot of flavor, yes. They are balanced, yes. This is the major difference. They are a Belgian IPA. For Belgium, they have a lot of hops. For Belgium. It is a decidedly malty beer with hops, not a hoppy beer with malt. It may sound like the same thing, but trust me, it isn't.
It isn't too heavy of a beer, despite the malt and ABV. It goes down smooth and was perfect for watching the Summer sunset over the Catskills. Give it a shot if you like hops, Belgian beer, or both.
Glassware: Tulip, Goblet
Synonym Beer: Piraat
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