Reviews, Commentary and Opinions on Midwest Craft Beer and Microbreweries


Beer Reviews


Ale Asylum
Madison, WI

Style: India Pale Ale (IPA)

Eddie’s Rating:
one beerone beerone beerone beerone beer   (Outstanding within its style.)

The blood in my veins was running right through my brain. I’d managed to track down a sixer of Ale Asylum’s newest release, Bedlam, a self-described “Belgian IPA.” I’ve had beers labeled as such before (like Chouffe Houblon Dobbelen IPA, straight outta Belgium) but I’ve yet to be overly impressed by them. Tonight’s brew could be different, though, since it’s hopped with Citra, a new hop variety supposedly derived from Hallertau, East Kent Goldings, and other strains (although that lineage sounds a little far fetched to me). Aptly named, this Citra, because it literally bursts with mango, papaya, and orange overtones. And you better get used to it, too, since it’s poised to become the next “it” hop in every new IPA and pale ale concocted by craft brewers around the globe.

For now, though, let’s see how the crew at Ale Asylum does with their first major brew with this new hop.

Bedlam pours an amber-tinged gold, blessed by a frothy, cream-colored head. Simply beautiful in the glass. A massive nose of orange blossoms wafts from the top of the glass, interleaving perfectly with herbal Belgian yeast phenols. The sip starts with ample bitterness, just like a vociferous IPA should. This melds effortlessly into a citrusy-sweet middle with a tiny, tiny dollop of maltiness in there for good measure. The finish is all hop bitterness, although depending on the size of the sip, the middle and finish can overlap quite a bit.

With a body just shy of medium, this is one IPA that goes down faster than it (probably) should. And it tends to go down fast, because this is an extremely well done beer. Both flavorful and nuanced, with a superb balancing act between both the extreme fruitiness and bracing bitterness of the hops and the herbal spiciness of the Belgian yeast. Drink it up when you can find it, and enjoy the Citra hop before every brewery in the country tries to cram it down our hop holes. Then again, if every beer featuring Citra hops is as good as Bedlam, I may just welcome such cramming with wide open arms.

Reviewed by Eddie Glick on May 25, 2010.
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