BPA (Belgian-style Pale Ale)
I’ve always enjoyed Belgian-style beers. For an aspiring beer geek, something such as Hoegaarden – which was one of the earliest “craft” beers I tried – can be a gateway to other, more complex styles. When it comes to stateside, Ommegang has stood with the best of them for as long as I’ve been a fan of craft beer.
The New York-based brewery has always cranked out solid beers, from their rarer releases to the year-round offerings, which include BPA. This Cascade dry-hopped pale ale blends the crispness of a pale with the smoothness the Belgian yeast imparts on any beer it’s brewed with. Having not enjoyed a BPA in a long time – and being gifted a Ommegang sampler pack at a recent wedding shower – I figured to give it another go-around.
BPA has an opaque and hazy deep yellowish orange color. On top is a finger of a bubbly head that flattens out into a nice film that lingers on top of the beer. There’s some light lacing and alcohol legs as well.
The dry-hopping gives off a big juicy tropical fruits on the nose. There are major notes of peach, orange juice and papaya, along with some light grape and pear notes. As with Belgian-style beers, there’s a very smooth smell from the yeast and definitely a hint of esters, which impart a rich banana bread quality.
There’s much more of a bite to the taste than on the nose. The carbonation hits the front of your tongue and washes over the inside of your mouth at first. There’s kind of a dull tartness that remains on the tip of the tongue, like biting into a green apple, which I guess comes from the dry-hopping. There’s that classic tart and tangy Belgian note along with hints of grape, orange and melon on the back. Overall, there’s a dry mouthfeel and dry finish.
BPA is drier and a little more biting than other Belgian-style beers I’ve tried, yet it still has those characteristics and qualities that made me fall in love with the style in the first place. The rich body, the tartness and wealth of flavors and overall drinkability of a beer. Definitely a nice twist on the pale ale style