Hommel Bier - Perennial Artisan Ales, Saint Louis
Belgian Pale Ales are something I've only started to really enjoy over the past year. The beer that convinced me I should drink more of this style was Poperings Hommel Bier. Since then I've been looking for other pale Belgian style ales with bright hops and sweet underpinnings. This Hommel Bier from Perenial in Saint Louis gives the style an American slant, with hops from the Pacific Northwest. It's evident when you drink this beer that it's hoppier and more bitter than something like Poperings, but shares a similar grain bill and yeast profile so you still get a touch of sweetness and a hint of Belgian character.
Perennial Hommel Bier pours a very hazy copper color and kicks up a thick layer of bright white bubbles when it hits your glass. There's a fair bit a lacing left behind as the bubbles retreat to a thin ring around the edge of the glass. The aroma is spicy and hoppy, but it doesn't come off as an IPA. This is a mild and approachable beer with subtleties that fans of the style will be able to appreciate.
The flavor of this Hommel Bier is similar yet very different than the Poperings I mentioned before. The important difference is the bold American hops, which replaced the Belgian varieties local to the Poperinge region. The yeasty underbelly is very familiar and provides a slightly more subtle sweetness than I remember from the Poperings. Altogether, this is a very interesting take on the Belgian Pale Ale style and one that gives the traditional beer a run for its money. I would recommend this beer to anyone who enjoys a good Pale Ale, whether it's Belgian or American in origin.