Delhaize, big mogul on the retail market here in Belgium recently launched a limited series of U.S.A. inspired beers. I say US inspired cause all the hops used in this series came from the US yet the beer was brewed in Belgium by the 'Proefbrouwerij'. Also the trend of brewing beers searching for a more extreme bitterness is something coming from US hopheads. A trend that I personally welcome cause I really like some bitter in my beer.
3 varieties were offered with every time the same brewing process but with the use of a different hop variety;
Columbus, Citra and Sorachi Ace. All in 75cl bottles at the more than reasonable price of 3,50€ the bottle together with a small booklet with some info.
Xtrem Hop Columbus:
This rather young American hop variety promises to deliver a high EBU-EuropeanBitterUnit- of 75 so I was quite looking forward opening this bottle. It poured a nice golden/orange coloured beer with a nice head and a lot of carbonation going on.
First scent was soapy,dry and some citrus. You could really smell that it was going to be a bitter beer. First sip immediately awakened my tastebuds giving me a tickle in the back of my mouth and leaving a nice dry, bitter aftertaste. I loved it a lot, could be a real good beer before dinner to make up an appetite. The bitter was prominent but not overwhelming.
This is a new American hop variety but for the Duvel lovers a known one as it was used to brew the Duvel Tripel Hop2012 so I knew what I was going for!
The taste was with an EBU of 59 again bitter but wasn't as prominent as with the Columbus due to the more floral/fruity character of the Citra hop. Again a very nice beer and the most 'open' beer of the 3. I could easily see this paired with some fish or seafood.
The Sorachi hop is an old forgotten Japanese hop that has recently been given attention again by some American hop cultivators and is really unique, like nothing I tasted before.
It doesn't have the same high EBU(68) as the Columbus(75) but I found the bitter being more prominent in this beer together with an exceptional floral, exotic taste...Coconut, mango, herbs(lavender, pine) in the nose and an absolute floral explosion in the mouth together with that typical soapiness of hoppy beers and even some wood. Truely the most Xtrem one of the three! I absolutely loved it, my wife didn't so this beer will surely divide opinions.
Nice effort of Delhaize to bring this limited series of beers on the market, I think all bottles have allready been sold, and for keeping a close watch on the general trends in the market. These beers could easily take a permanent position on the shelves with their exceptional taste and high quality.