Moo Brew was introduced to me in my pre-geek days with the excellent Dark Ale, which was one of my favourite beers of last year. After getting to a Moo Brew tap takeover during Queensland Beer Week, I considered myself one of the brewery’s admirers.
The distinctive artwork on the label by John Kelly and the fantastic bottle shape makes Moo Brew beers stand out visually from the pack. So it was with a sense of confident expectation that I picked up a four-pack of Belgo at my former local bottleshop. A Belgian pale ale, huh? This could either be a total disaster or something akin to genius.
Let’s see what the label has to say for itself:
This is a light Belgian Pale ale with a seamless blend of yeast and hop aroma such that you can’t tell where one ends and the other starts. The palate is dry and slightly tart, with a moderate Belgian texture.
On the pour, Belgo is a clear golden colour. The head is nothing worth noting and the retention is limited. I guess this is in line with the Belgian aspect of the Belgian pale ale style. The aroma gives off hints of Belgian spiciness but offers few hints at what else lies beneath the surface. Apt comparisons between Duvel and Saison Dupont can be made (yes, I am aware those are different styles – quit nitpicking).
The best way to describe the taste is like a lightly hopped, American pale ale truck ran into a Belgian freight train (fortunately, no one was hurt). Moo Brew’s copy is right about not being able to tell where the hops end and the yeast starts. The hops used are spicy which matches excellently with the Belgian yeasty phenol goodness. However, it’s not an overwhelming taste sensation. It’s just enough to pique your interest and want more.
I’m not sure what constitutes a “moderate Belgian texture”. I don’t generally spend a lot of time with Walloons and Flemings in my mouth, so I couldn’t comment on the level of moderation involved. However, Belgo is light on the carbonation and doesn’t feel as full bodied, as heavier (actual) Belgian beers, like Duvel.
The hidden secret of this beer lives at the end: it’s as dry as a dead dingo’s donger. That is to say, if a dog-like creature were to die in the harsh Australian desert, the resulting desiccated member of said creature is likely to be quite dry but still not as dry as the finish on Belgo. I’d personally prefer the dryness was knocked down a notch but it’s perhaps my only complaint about this beer.
While tasty, you won’t be floored by either the yeasty or the hoppy aspects of Belgo. You could happily knock back the four pack without much consideration. You might even be inclined to share with your less crafty friends as a way of saying, “See? Interesting but still beer”. At a relatively modest 4.5%, you’ll probably still standing after four and, if you’re like me, wanting more.
It would have been easy to go down the 9% barrel-aged tripel path, like many other brewers (oh and Moo Brew, it’s good too though) and create a boozey nightmare, but instead they’ve created something relatively new: a sessionable Belgian ale. The hopping regime adds an interesting dimension to create a great beer.
- Genre: Belgo
- Regionality: Berriedale, TAS
- Strength: 4.5%
- Rating: 3 / 3 taste + 1.5 / 2 ancillaries = 4.5 / 5
- Plus: Brilliant mix of styles
- Minus: Super dry on the finish