Jason Johnson's picture

Side Trip

February, 2016
Judges Rating: 
23 / 24
5 / 6
38 / 40
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.