Alken-Maes: Hapkin (Belgium: Belgian Strong Ale: 8.5% ABV)

Visual: Clear light grain yellow. Massive white head made up of large stretched bubbles.

Nose: Crisp wheat, shreddies packet just opened. Processed ice cream. Orange and lemon freshness with a hint of ginger bread. Slightly floral.

Body: Distinctly fresh, orange juice sweetness backed by bitter hops. Slightly fizzy, like orangeaid. Hint of liquorice at back and hints of glacier cherries. Pineapple. Vanilla.

Finish:  Orange juice and marmalade. Greenery. Bittrness. Dry liquorice comes out competing with grapefruit.

Conclusion: I know that many of the blond Belgium ales have had orange like elements but this one is just tacking the mickey. It takes the orange influence to almost orangina or orangeaid styling and drop it in amongst the bitter hops. Quite the citrus wake up call to your taste buds.

That orange run straight through it, backed by a few other choice citrus elements and the expected wheat elements and bitterness.  All in all, it shows what I love about Belgium. Despite the seeming rigidity of the style guidelines, there is a whole world of play that can be brought to a beer, and this one takes full advantage of that.

Not a summer refresher despite the citrus, the hop finish comes in too heavy for that.  More a stylised beer for relaxing with, and a lovely fresh take on the style.

Background: One of Michael Jackson 500 beers, it was surprisingly evasive to find, eventually being picked up from Brugges.  As mentioned many a time, I consider Belgium to have the best beers in the world.