Aug 24, 2011

Harpoon Belgian Style Pale Ale

Harpoon Belgian Pale Ale photoA good looking and tasting pale ale

I’m a big fan of the cross pollination of styles/ingredients that we’ve been seeing in the craft beer landscape the past couple of years — especially as it concerns Belgian-inspired off shoots of established styles. The Belgian IPA, and now Pale Ale, aren’t all that new, but there seems to be an upsurge in their presence the past year or so. Ommegang’s BPA is what I would consider the cream of the crop when looking at Belgian style pale ales and, while this Harpoon offering doesn’t quite live up to those lofty expectations, it’s still a fine brew.

Punctuated by a solid yeast presence that brings fruity and spicy character to the beer, Harpoon have themselves a tasty and easy drinking brew. At 5.8% ABV it’s certainly not a sessionable beer, but man, does it go down smooth.


The beer pours clear amber in color with a good sized off-white head.


Aromatic and fruity esters fill the nose as spicy hops, orange zest and a light malt presence come together nicely.


The “best before” date on this bottle read 7/15/11, a solid month before I even purchased it. From what I can tell, the beer was unaffected by going past it’s prime drinking time-frame. For the most part, the flavors in this beer follow the nose to a tee. Grassy hops with a touch of orange mingle with a peppery yeast character that compliments the crisp mouthfeel. Lightly toasted malt sits in the background.


I really enjoyed this beer. it’s not a challenger to my favorites of this style, but it’s a solid effort from Harpoon in the realm of Belgian-inspired beers that could see a glut of over population soon. The beer’s fruity, peppery character really seals the deal for me — the flavors really make for a tasty and accessible brew.

Rating: 3.75/5

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