by the description on the brewery’s website, White Birch Belgian Pale
Ale is a Belgian pale ale in name only. I can see that, since there
isn’t anything about this beer that makes it stand out a Belgian-y. It
does work as a pale ale in and of itself, which is commendable. A good
balance of a solid malt base and hops that give it some spice, but don’t
I poured a 22oz bottle into a tulip glass. It was bottled in July, 2014 and cost $6 ($0.27).
Appearance: Despite the brewery’s description, it’s actually more of a
pure orange color over a very hazy body. Some carbonation is visible.
Pours to an average-sized, white, frothy head which laces and retains
Smell: Fruity aroma of tangerine, apple and a hint of something herbal. Mild overall, though.
Taste: Since this beer may not be as Belgian-ish as its name implies, I
can cut it some slack. There’s a pretty strong presence of
American-style hop character going on here. West Coast-style citrus
notes in the form on orange and maybe guava or papaya are present right
away. But there’s also a slight peppery note, maybe basil or coriander
or clove (though the beer is not actually brewed with any of these herbs
as far as I can tell). An interesting flavor and spice combination; I’d
be interested to see the hop schedule. As for the malty base, it’s
definitely solid. Nothing in particular stands out, but at least there’s
enough body here to keep this balanced. I really don’t get much Belgian
character (e.g. banana, clove, etc.) though there is a bit of
saison-like dryness here, but it’s not a dry beer per se. Overall, it’s
plenty flavorful and interesting and that’s what makes for a good beer.
Drinkability: Though a tad “big” at 6.5% ABV, White Birch Belgian Pale
Ale works well as summer brew. There’s an inherently refreshing quality
to this palette – juicy notes while in the mouth, but nothing cloying or
lingering in the aftertaste. The mouthfeel itself is perfectly
medium-bodied; plenty of carbonation to keep it interesting, but not to
the point of being difficult to drink. It’s remarkably smooth, actually.
I had no trouble drinking the entire bomber myself.