I had a package sitting on the table when I got home from work today. Not sure if I had a night of Amazon shopping after a night of many beers, I didn’t know what to expect. Inside, I found something that really made my day, something that put a big goofy smile on my face, a gift from my brother.
Since I’m in such a good mood, it seemed as good a time as any to pour a beer and enjoy a relaxing night. Time to open something I picked up last week, a Gnomegang – a collaboration between Ommegang (a brewery that makes Belgian-style beers in Cooperstown, NY) and Brasserie d’Achouffe (a brewery that makes Belgian-style beers in Belgium). I generally like Belgian beers, and I’ve liked the beers I’ve had from both breweries, so I was looking forward to trying this. As luck would have it, I found it when I out hunting for another beer (another acquisition – Goose Island’s Big John, but that’s one I’m holding for a while). A successful trip.
So. A Belgian Strong Pale Ale. 9.5% ABV. A good one to get me ready for bed. Like the Boulevard Smokestack Series beers, it’s in a corked and caged 750 ml bottle. Unlike the Boulevard beers, the cork came out quite easily (now whenever I open a Smokestack Series bottle now, I just go straight for the pliers).
It poured into my goblet a cloudy light orange, almost yellow. Thin cream head, dissipated quickly. There’s a little lacing on the glass after a swirl, not much. With the swirl, I got a whiff of the beer. Yeasty, wheaty, with a hint of lemon, and more than a hint of bananas.
It’s got a pretty medium mouthfeel. Not a robust body, but not thin. Really. . . medium. Man I’m awesome at this. The Belgian yeast comes through, the banana flavor is prevalent in the taste. A lot of the same stuff as in the aroma, with a slight twinge of alcohol, maybe some clove. It’s not a standard pale (thanks Cap’n Obvious). It’s a little heavier, more alcohol, much more complex flavor profile. Breadier. Honestly, this isn’t quite my thing. Not a bad beer by any means, but I’m not sure it lives up to the hype, or my expectations. I said as much on Twitter, and my esteemed colleague asked if I noticed a banana Laffy Taffy thing going on. Well, now that he mentioned it, yes. I smell it, and taste it. It’s all I can get. Maybe not quite so much in the flavor, that’s more of a banana bread Laffy Taffy, with hops. It’s subtle, but it’s there. As it warms, I get some olive. It’s weird. I’m not a big fan of olives, but I don’t really mind this.
Aroma: 3.9 This is sort of interesting. I can’t get past the banana Laffy Taffy now.
Color: 4 It’s nice. A little cloudy, but a good “beer”-looking beer.
Taste: 3.5 Again, it’s not my thing. Again there’s Laffy Taffy. I blame Joe.
Feel: 3.9 It’s average. Maybe a little above average.
Overall: 3.8. B- Like I said, I’m kind of underwhelmed. I wanted more out of this beer. It’s not awful, at all. Maybe I’m not a fan of Belgian Strong Pale Ales. Others seem to like it, but others might not have someone telling them it’s Laffy Taffy.
For some tunes? For a goofy-named beer, with a Laffy Taffy taste, what better than a happy-go-lucky song from They Might Be Giants!!
This is one of my favorite songs. “Blue canary in the outlet by the light switch/Who watches over you/Make a little birdhouse in your soul” When I opened the box and saw the gift, it turned my day around. So while this beer might not have been my favorite, it’s still a damn good day. I hope it’s been as much for you!