Gouden Carolus Hopsinjoor
The beauty of beer is all in the interpretation.
Lets look at IPAs.
In America, they are a showcase for big, bright hop flavors ranging in citrus intensity from soft orange to bitter grapefruit.
In Europe, the hop profile traditionally is more subdued, displaying a flavor that is more delicate and floral.
In Belgium, you can get a blend of both with Gouden Carolus Hopsinjoor.
In the glass, it sure looks like a Belgian. It pours orange with that yeasty and hazy color to it.
While I wondered what else would make a beer look Belgian, besides a tiny turtleneck, all the orange characteristics in the glass were preparing themselves to take over.
From the onset, you could quickly tell it had already happened. On the nose and the tongue, it was the zest of the orange, oily, slick and concentrated. As it warms, the flavors continue to pop. With further sampling, you get the pith, with its bitter qualities sticking to the side of your tongue.
More time in the glass brings a tropical, almost banana note until it turns into a delightful mix of freshly squeezed orange juice and a creamy sort of sweetnessreminiscent of orange sherbet. (And if you are getting up, I would love a Push-Up, by the way.)
To stay in the food discussion, a great pairing would be a firm, cows milk cheese from Italy called Piave. It has a lemony brightness to it that I think would work well withall those citrus notes that are in play.
In the end, I was left thinking of that oily bitterness that it opened with. Sure, it stays in step with you the entire time, even in the subtlest way, but it is never a deterrent to the flavor. It is just a reminder of what it is. It is another unique facet to a unique beer. No matter how you look at it.