I can’t help but think Weyerbacher’s Belgian-style pale ale Verboten (formerly known as "Zotten") is an attempt at Americanizing the world-famous Duvel. Perhaps that’s a stretch since the two beers share only a few superficial similarities, and in the case of Verboten, I think I actually prefer it over Duvel. It’s got all the makings of a beer that nails the "Belgian-style something" genre, but I wish it was marketed as just a plain good beer since that’s what it is.
I poured a 12oz bottle into an oversize wine glass.
Appearance: Extremely hazy, but very bright orange hue. Massive amount of tiny carbonation bubbles are evident, much like a Belgian beer would look. Forms a 2-finger, off-white, foamy head which leaves decent lacing and retains well, too.
Smell: Lemon peel, a touch of banana and a potpourri of spices.
Taste: There’s no doubt after just one swig that Verboten is giving for a niche Belgian style. It’s got the same flavors commonly found in lighter-colored, but strong Belgian beers of the sort. Lemon peel, black pepper and a touch of clove are the major players in the palate here. It’s a light, almost flowery palate. While not a particularly bitter brew, some hop bitterness is present throughout. There seems to be some orange on the second half, followed by a dry, doughy, chalky finish and aftertaste. This dryness becomes stronger as the beer warms and distracts from the main palate. If it hadn’t been there I’d really be able to savor the flavors more.
Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied with a fizzy, dry sensation on the tongue.
Drinkability: While it may have the basic characteristics of a Belgian pale ale, Verboten has the body of something more Western at 5.9% ABV. It’s not exactly smooth, nor is it rough. It’s not refreshing, but it’s not a sipper either. A drinkable beer for drinkers of most experience levels.
Overall, an interesting beer to drink, but I can’t help but feel even more could have been done with it.