Knäppingen : John Doe (Sweden: Belgian Ale: 6.1% ABV)
Visual: Cloudy yellow to apricot. Thin white head that leaves suds.
Nose: Yeastie. Crusty white bread. Pepper. Moderate bitter hop character. Banana. Cloves. Slight musty note.
Body: Vanilla. Good hop character. Greenery. Slight prickly feel. Custard. Crushed Blackpool rock. Banana. Light sulphur. Light cream. Kiwi and apple.
Finish: Banana and custard. Dry. Big hop character. Moderate bitterness and greenery. Light smoke. Cream. Resin. Apple. Peppery.
Conclusion: This is a pretty hoppy beer for a take on the Belgian Pale Ale. It has the dryness, peppery character and the mix of yeastieness and associated fruity esters for a traditional Belgian ale – however the hops are super fresh with that resin and greenery set of notes you get with that freshness, along with a very present hop character. Despite that it only had restrained to middling bitterness, at least until the finish where it suddenly gets free rein.
The base underneath those hops is that kind of vanilla, custard and banana that is native to the lighter end of the Belgian beer scale. While the base is well done, I have to admit is is the fresh hop character that makes the beer stand out. Without that it would be a very competent and cleanly delivered Belgian ale, but not anything really worth noting. With the hops it becomes a wake up call, with hints of green fruit that really add to it, and a brash hop character that kicks. It feels like a beer fully designed to maximise the advantage that they can get the beer to you fast.
As a result it is a bracing, yet easy to drink beer- taking the Belgian style and making it a bit more prickly over the smooth base. A nice mix of spice, smooth sweetness and good hops.
Very easy to drink, with good play of flavour – a dangerous combination, both for intoxication and because of Sweden prices – At least they make sure when you pay top dollar (or krona) you get good stuff.
Background: This one is from the Knäppingen brewpub in Norrköping, and the second set of tasting notes from the Sweden Beer and Coasters trip! The brewpub was excellent, and the friendly staff helped translate their food menu for us linguistically challenged Brits. Much appreciated! The food was amazing as well, had their steak and the cooking and sauce was genuinely great. Also tried their Double IPA – it was ok, tasty but did not stand out in the double IPA range. Though I may have been spoiled by the SolDIPA the day before in Gothenburg We had just been to the Museum of Work moments before – it is free and only a few minutes walk from the brewpub. Well worth a look as it gives a very good guide to the ups and downs of the city over the past century and really gives you a feel for the city. Also the Museum of Work seems to be in the middle of a cluster of wonderful architecture for fans of such things.