So it stunned me to recently find Le Freak, a new 22 ounce bottled beer out of Green Flash. Here's the description:
"Extreme ale converging San Diego-style imperial pale ale and Belgian-style trippel."I like trippels and I like imperial pale ales. But I've never heard of anyone merging the two. Considering trippels tend to have a sweet, yeasty taste and imperial pale ales rely on hops, my mind was boggled. What would this beer taste like? I wanted to believe it was some kind of breakthrough rather than a gimmicky beer usually put out by the likes of Stone and Dogfish Head.
Here's the good thing that happened when I tasted my first sip of Le Freak: I realized what I liked out of both beers. I like the first taste of trippels...the fruity sweet and vague flavor of wild yeast. I like the back end of imperial pale ales...the rich hops you can almost feel in your lungs.
The bad thing is, Le Freak gets it all wrong. It's bitter and hoppy on the front end with a sickly Belgian aftertaste.
I'm all for innovation, and I applaud Green Flash for pushing the boundaries. But they've come up short with Le Freak. I know "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" teaches us the value of society's outcasts (or not, I'm really not very familiar with the story arc), but sometimes freaks should be kept at the margins.
(Never when it comes to humans of course...just beer.)
It's not that Le Freak is awful...it's just mediocre. And when I pay $7 for a bottle of beer, I expect more than mediocre.