Side Trip

Colorado
United States
new belgium beer side trip belgian pale ale
Judges Ratings 
1 Review
94
Aroma:
23 / 24
Flavor:
38 / 40
Appearance:
5 / 6
Mouthfeel:
10 / 10
Overall Impression:
18 / 20
Description 

Sometimes it’s a side trip that makes the journey. During our last anniversary retreat to Belgium, brewmaster Peter Bouckaert embarked on a sensory excursion to find the perfect yeast strain for his next creation: Side Trip Belgian Pale Ale. A beer from Brouwerij Van Den Bossche led Bouckaert to the brewery’s family Buffalo yeast strain, which they happily shared, and the foundation was set. Additions of Belgian Chateau Abbey and Cara Ruby malts from Castle Malting, the oldest malting plant in Belgium, as well as Belgian Magnum, Saphir and Target hops builds a bready, caramel-sweet wash with traces of stone fruits, and a balanced herbal bitterness for a pleasantly dry finish. Take a break from your journey with a Side Trip.

Profile

ABV: 
6.0%
Judges Review 
Jason Johnson's picture
Judges Rating:
94
Aroma:
23 / 24
Appearance:
5 / 6
Flavor:
38 / 40
Mouthfeel:
10 / 10
Overall Impression:
18 / 20

Off the pour, this beer is crystal clear and deep gold in color with a quickly fading, frothy white head. In the aroma I get a moderate amount of biscuity malt a light malty sweetness. There are some low-strength floral notes from the hops, and I get some fairly prominent banana esters and typical Belgian yeast spiciness as well. There's a lot going on here, but nothing is overpowering or too huge. The flavor is quite nice. On the front end I get a little caramel sweetness followed by toasty, biscuit-like malt. Similar to the aroma, the flavor showcases the intermingling of banana esters and yeast-derived spice, followed up by a mild bitterness in the finish – complex without a lot of overpowering flavors. Unlike most Belgian beers, I can see myself drinking quite a few of these in one sitting. It’s really well-balanced between the malt, hops, and yeast components, the mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, and the carbonation is also in the medium-strenght range. From my understanding of the BJCP style guidelines, this beer really should be malt-focused with secondary notes from the yeast with the hops in a mostly supporting role. I feel that this beer exemplifies the style. Many Belgian-style beers tend to go overboard with the yeast-derived flavors, but not this one; it's easy-drinking, well-balanced and very flavorful. The one minor critique I can make is that while the hop bitterness is good, I wouldn’t mind a bit more spicy or floral hop flavor in the mix, but either way, this beer is a home run.