Friday, May 24, 2013

Ale Asylum Bedlam

Type: Belgian IPA
Origin: Madison, WI
Price: ?
ABV: 7.5%
NSP: ?
website

First beer of the Wisconsin Beer Plow.  And here's an oddity- as far as I can tell, there's no "brewing company" or "brewery" or even "beer" in this joint's company name.  It's just Ale Asylum.  Anyway, I don't know what the hell the beast on the label is supposed to be, but I like it.  To be perfectly honest, I'd advise against even bothering to go to the website to read the beer's description.  It's incredibly pretentious and massively overloaded with douche-ness.  Oh, I see why- it's a BA review, copied and pasted.  And it's unbearable even on the BA scale.

But the beer smells delicious.  This SOB is Citra-hopped, and that's right at the forefront- buttloads of citrus, pineapple and maybe even a bit of lime in there.  There's a potent bitterness in the smell, and with all of that citrus, it smells like rind.  And then there's a nice rich Belgianity carrying some banana along with it (and maybe some vanilla lurking in the back), with a good amount of the usual Belgian spice.

Off the bat I like this- the IPA part is pretty much on point, with the hops bringing all of the expected citrus, a nice bitterness level that won't strip the paint, and an agreeably light body that keeps it drinkable.  And initially, the yeast provides a nice counterpoint.  But on repeated visits, I'm having a bit of trouble enjoying the Belgian part as much as I do the IPA part.  And I think that's because the spices that are evident in the nose are either lacking in the flavor or hidden behind the hops.  So the yeast ends up mainly just yeast-flavored, without much enhanced complexity.  And more's the pity, because one-note Belgian yeast is a real shame.

So this isn't bad, but I feel like it's a bit of a letdown because the Belgian part fell short. I wonder how it'd compare to the Wildeman Andy reviewed a little while ago- probably not all that favorably, because it's not on Cali-Belgique's level, and it's nowhere even in the ballpark of River North's HUP or Muffin Top.  But I'll give it credit- it's easy to put down, and after two or three of them the truncated Belgianity won't really bother you anymore.

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