Arbor and Buskers: Lost In Translation (England: Belgian Ale: 7% ABV)
Visual: Dark cloudy caramel to brown. Massive caramel touched loose bubble head.
Nose: Wheaty. Passion-fruit. Mango. Mixed dry fruit. Caramel. Peach jelly sweets. Flour. Light hop character and bitterness. Cheese.
Body: Funky, cheesy feel – Edam and cheese puffs crisps. Lime hops. Moderate bitterness. Peppery and crackers. Muesli backing. Light vanilla custard. Bubblegum.
Finish: Cheesy- mature cheddar. Pepper. Funky yeast. Slight hop oils, hop feel and bitterness. Dried apricot. Passion-fruit.
Conclusion: Since this was packed with simcoe and mosaic hops I have to admit I was expecting this to be more bitter, and more fruity hop dominated. I should really have learned by now that reality exists purely to shatter my expectations. That is its only purpose. No I am not narcissistic, that would mean I had a flaw.
Anyway, this has some nice hop characteristics – including moderate bitterness, hop character and use of hop oils, but what really dominates it is the funky yeast character that gives a pepper backing and a mass of cheese laden crackers. Instead of a big Belgian style fruit hop bomb this thing delivers a savoury plate to sup and chew upon.
It is both a very good impression of the Belgian style – and a more unusual, less mainstream Belgian style at that – which is awesome – and also a beer, that within that mileau, does not stand out too much from the actual similar Belgian beers. Which is less good. It is a bit hoppier, a bit more bitter, and a bit more intense in that style. That is where it stays though – which is no terrible thing, that might be exactly what you want from the beer. There isn’t exactly a huge range of similarly funky Belgian style ales floating around. It just doesn’t quite have a twist that makes it stand out as a unique entity in itself.
To concentrate on the positives, this really shows what you can do with Belgian yeast, and while moderated in the impact, it does also show the nice character you can get from high alpha acid hops like simcoe. So a decent beer, with nice stylings. Also, one of the all time great bottle labels. Which as we all know is the most important thing.
So, pretty good, just not great. Except the label. Which is great.
Background: Yeah, I bought this because of the label. Come on, Super Mario Bros and beer, you cannot tell me that is not cool and expect me to believe it. From a quick google looks like Buskers is an Italian brewing operation, not run into them before, should be interesting. Drunk while listening to Against Me!’s new album Shape Shift With Me. Solid so far, sounds a bit different to their usual sound. Let’s see how it grows on me. Anyway, this was grabbed from Independent Spirit.