The Belgian IPA: a Compromise We All Can Swallow

belgium-beer-flagFor the longest time I treated it as a fault, a failure of some sort. I tried to hide the fact from others and went to great lengths to avoid situations that could have revealed my failings. My tastes were a disgrace, especially for one who called herself a beer snob.

Now that I’m solidly in my mid-thirties, though, I feel old and wise enough to say What do you care? Shut up and drink your beer. So: I don’t like Belgian beer. ThereIvesaidit! So far, no not-so-merry monks have run into the room, robes a-flutter, threatening to bludgeon me with oversized wheels of cheese.

I’ve been drinking long enough to know that it is not the Belgian part of Belgian beer that I don’t like. That unique, expansive taste of Belgian yeast is delightful! Rather, it is the lack of hops that gets me. I need the dryness, the bitterness, the kick in the pants that is a well-hopped beer. And then I discovered the Belgian IPA.

Sweet mother of fermentation! Where have you been all my life?! My first Belgian IPA was a tulip glass of The Audacity of Hops in Boston’s Cambridge Brewing Company. I was suspicious. My favorite cute bartender with the Buddy Holly glasses served it to me and I eyed it sideways, its perfect head and cloudy orange hue suspect. But then I took a cautious sip and was hit with a face full of hops. I was instantly converted. Continue reading