Today, I decided to pull out “Fallen Angel,” an 8% Belgian-style Strong Pale Ale from the renowned Midnight Sun Brewing Co. all the way from Anchorage, Alaska.
I posted about this style of beer before; how its examples are typically easier to drink than their high alcohol contents would suggest, and how their names and labels often make use of Luciferian imagery and wordplay (Duvel, Damnation, Belzebuth, etc.) “Fallen Angel” is obviously along these lines, with the label depicting a demonic angel falling into a pool of fire.
Traditional Belgian renditions of this style are marked by a light, fluffy mouthfeel that comes from the use of large quantities of highly-fermentable candi sugar and hyperactive yeasts. American versions seem to go lighter on the sugar, leading to a more typical American ale-type mouthfeel. Americanized BSPAs also frequently make use of our more-dank, “green” American hops as opposed to the flowery, spicy European hops found in most Belgian versions. Given Midnight Sun’s completely understandable love of Pacific Northwest hop varietals, I’m suspecting that this Fallen Angel is an Americanized BSPA.
Upon pouring, it shows the standard supremely-clear innocuous gold color this style is known for, though if I rouse the sediment a bit, I can get some haziness going. The pearl-white foam retains well in this wide-mouthed Orval chalice. Dipping my nose in for a whiff, I’m getting spiced banana bread…banana, rum, nutmeg and clove with some bitter orange that I’m thinking is coming from the American hops.
Just a note – even though the drinker smells them, beers like this rarely contain any banana or spices. These aromas are due to volatile chemical compounds produced by Belgian yeast strains as by-products of fermentation. It’s all about the yeast.
Oh yeah. Definitely American. I taste fair bitterness at the back palate, and a salty character on the sides. Very little residual sweetness noted. It’s a “green banana” flavor with sea salt, ginger, white pepper and bitter orange. While it’s not an IPA, I think this is a beer IPA drinkers would go for.
Sorry, you can’t obtain this one here. I would list similarities, but I’m only thinking of Lost Abbey’s “Inferno,” and you can’t get that one here either. Fail on my part, I guess. Though one could almost call this a “Belgian IPA,” and we do have some of those available:
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