Wednesday, 28 March 2012

REVIEW #84: Hopus (Brasserie Lefebvre)

Pours golden orange with a permanent and pillowy, pristine white head. It has a zesty, fragrant honey and citrus nose. Lip-smacking fresh citrus notes up front balanced by a hop bitterness that's a little more aggressive than expected. This one finishes long with soapy honey, nutmeg, some caramel and bitterness along with a burst of intensely sweet candy sugar, evident in many Belgian tripels and pales. Its not as overtly yeasty as some other beers of the style. The 8.3% alcohol is well hidden.

Brasserie Lefebvre is a well-respected Belgian brewery, producing the well-known Floreffe range of abbey ales as well as the Barbar range amongst other individual beers. They have been operating since 1876 - save for a brief pause during world war 1 - and are currently managed by the 5th and 6th generations of the Lefebvre family. BeerAdvocate have Hopus down as a Belgian IPA whereas RateBeer class it simply as a Belgian Pale. IPAs, in the sense of a pale ale with greater bitterness (IBU), are not really popular in Belgium but an increasing amount of brewers are producing them with the export market in mind. I would have reservations calling this a Belgium IPA, despite the use of 5 hop varieties, because the bitterness and hop aroma fail to dominate. A Belgian pale seems more fitting; albeit a slightly bitter interpretation. However, expect a head-to-head between two genuine Belgian IPAs to appear very soon...

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