Saturday, February 28, 2015

Rare Form Les Verts Monts

4.4
   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 17/20
Chad9976 (1292) - Albany, New York, USA - FEB 28, 2015
“Les Verts Monts” started off as a homebrew by Brendan Palfreyman (a dude I’ve known through social media for a while now) and was then brewed at Rare Form Brewing in Troy, as they determined it to be the best of all the entries they received for their second “Scale Up” program. I can certainly see why. It’s a fantastic-smelling, delicious-tasting and easy-drinking pale ale. It’s a shame it’s a one-time-only brew as this would make a great addition to their regular lineup.

I poured a 12oz growler fill (from the brewery itself) into a tulip glass. It cost $6 ($0.50 per ounce).

Appearance: Almost carrot-like shade of orange, though slightly brownish. Extremely hazy body. Pours to a one-finger, white, frothy head which laces and retains well.

Smell: Huge tropical fruit notes (especially passion fruit, kiwi, and orange). Clean and inviting.

Taste: The recipe for this beer was inspired by some of the great IPAs and pale ales currently being made throughout Vermont (hence the name) and it’s quite clear this beer is an homage to them. The fruity/citrusy hops dominate the palette, but mostly in terms of flavor rather than bitterness. Just like the aroma, there’s delicious notes of kiwi, passion fruit, orange, mango, guava and papaya here thanks to the Citra and Simcoe hops. The malt base is rather simple with two-row doing the lion’s share and flaked oats and flaked wheat providing some mouthfeel and minor flavor characteristics. It’s not an especially sweet or malty brew, though I don’t think it’s really intended to be balanced per se. Only minor bitterness is perceived; I’d probably estimate it to be somewhere between 30-49 IBUs. Slightly dry on the finish with the faintest hint of alcohol (probably due to the English ale yeast which tends to under attenuate). Overall, it’s an excellent pale ale for a palette that’s a bit repetitive and direct.

Drinkability: What really makes “Les Verts Monts” a great beer is the raw drinkability. There’s a soft, smooth texture here with a finish to match. I detect a bit of starchiness in the aftertaste, but it’s easy to ignore. It’s also very refreshing while in the mouth; I could imagine this being absolutely perfect in the summer months. At 6.2% ABV it’s technically too big to session, but it would be awfully tempting to do just that. 
Grade: 9/10

NOTE: Read Brendan's blog about the brewing of this beer here: http://blog.timesunion.com/beer/scaling-up-a-homebrew-at-rare-form-brewing/3682/