STYLE: Belgian IPA
APPEARANCE: Clear, effervescent gold
HEAD: Short, white, fades appropriately
LACING: Spotty but clingy
NOSE: I’ve now sampled a few Belgian IPAs and I’m always impressed by the way the characteristic “Belgian” aromas of fruit and yeast funk mix with the traditional IPA aromas of citrus and pine. The Cali-Belgique is a great example of this. It smells like ripe bananas rolled in cloves mixed with grapefruit wedges dipped in honey. That actually sounds pretty tasty…
TASTE: And it is! A little more tart, yeast funk in the taste than the nose implied, but that doesn’t bother me at all. It’s got a Saison-like character…very refreshing and slightly sour. The finish is pure West Coast hops with some sticky pine resin and sharply acidic citrus fruits.
MOUTHFEEL: Medium-bodied but could use more carbonation
DRINKABILITY: Moderately drinkable…I really enjoy the style, but Belgian IPAs can confuse your palate a bit and I can’t see drinking more than one in an evening. That’s not a knock on this particular brew, by the way. I give Stone a hard time because so many people claim them as THE champion of American craft brewing and I think there many better ale factories out there. But the truth is…they’re a pretty damn solid brewery. This isn’t one of their best, but it’s plenty good.
RATING: 3 Hops