The easiest way to describe this style?
If a tripel and an IPA got together and did the hibbity dibbity, this would be the product of their rendezvous:
Congratulations! It's a Belgian IPA.
This hybrid of beer is a relatively new style and doesn't reach as far back into history as its components. It's a great beer to bridge the gap between hop heads and Belgian beer fans. Ask Berry White...he'll tell you.
Today's demonstration beer is Houblon Chouffe Dobbelon IPA (or simply Houblon, as we call it at home) from Brasserie d'Achouffe in Achouffe, Belgium. While I try not to sway people with ratings, Houblon earned a 99 out of 100 on Ratebeer and a steady A- rating on Beeradvocate for a reason. This beer rules the school.
If you have coordinating glassware, use it. No real reason other than it's fun. Plus, look at how cute this glass is:
Houblon has a beautiful, hazy gold color and a thick, sudsy head.
And when you let the glass catch a little bit of sun...
It's enough to make your eyes (or mouth) water.
The aroma is fruity, slightly funky and in-your-face. The initial taste adds a whole new layer of complexity: yeasty, a bit of citrus and some grassiness which gives it a nice, earthy flavor to balance out some of the booziness and malty sweetness. The finish is crisp and dry, with a bit of lingering hop on the tongue.
It's like the tripel welcomes you to the party and the IPA sends you home with a little goody bag.
Now go and experience one!
Oh, and there's one more style of IPA to cover then we're moving on to seasonals. A warning for next week's beer breakdown: make sure your tastebuds wear protective gear. They're going to need it.