02 April 2012

Beer for Belgian punks

The wobbly distressed lettering tells us this is a beer with attitude, though the comedy English name adds a certain europunk weirdness to it. Rebel Local is basically the Plastic Bertrand of beer.

There's next to no information on the label beyond the basics. Am I the only one who gets a little wary when a brewery calls a beer an "Indian Pale Ale"? It's 8.5% ABV, brewed with sugar and comes from Brouwers Verzet ("Brewers Resistance" \m/) in Anzegem, near the point where Flanders, Wallonia and France meet. And like many an actually-Belgian Belgian IPA it tastes very Belgian indeed.

On pouring it's pretty much blonde, with oodles of bubbles, congealing to a shaving foam consistency. The aroma is gritty yeast only slightly troubled by some slightly acrid hops. For all the fizz it's actually quite smooth drinking, but the hops are once again an afterthought, adding little more than seasoning to what's really a fairly run-of-the-mill strong blonde ale. Even though the Belgian yeast is in control of the flavour, it stays clean delivering some lovely peppery spices which complement the hop bittering and subtle soft fruit notes quite well.

You have to wonder why a self-consciously iconoclastic Belgian brewery would be using the same sort of yeast as almost all of its conformist compatriots, but I probably shouldn't judge them on the strength of one beer. Once again, however, I'm left with the impression that combining Belgian and American brewing styles is something best left to the Americans.

Prove me wrong, Belgium.