Weyerbacher’s Zotten is a Belgian pale ale. If that sounds like a contradiction, you might be right. Taking something pale and light and combining it with the traditionally rich and complex flavors of a Belgian beer would be a feat indeed. In a press release from Weyerbacher, Head brewer Chris Wilson talked about the reasoning behind the release. “This is a very significant release for us as well as the beer community out there. Here we have a very ‘sessionable’ beer that has significant flavor, complexity and hops to satisfy the most discriminating palate, and its perfect for this time of year as well.”
Truthfully, this one came out in the summer, and has been waiting around in my fridge for too long. I’m to really worried about freshness, but it is a bit out of season (considering that I found the all Christmas music radio station today). That confession aside, I was eager to try this – if for no other reasons than a motivation to make space in my fridge, and my own curiosity as to what a Belgian pale ale could taste like.
It pours into the glass with a thin head that sticks around. The color was very interesting- a cloudy orange. Certainly not what I was expecting, but interesting none the less. The smell is light, and yeasty.
The taste was very pleasant and drinkable. It has a bit of… spiciness… to it? I’m not sure what I’m tasting there, but it definitely has a bit of orange-like flavor, and some hops come through as well. This is a nice one, and at 6% ABV its actually low for Weyerbacher, who seems to feature higher ABV brews as a rule. It is very smooth, and it almost has a banana aroma and taste as well (a typically Belgian characteristic.) As it warms, that spiciness comes through even more, as do the hops. Neither gets overwhelming, though, which is a great characteristic of this beer.
This might be a great beer to bridge the gap for people to learn to pick up some Belgian taste characteristics, especially the yeast. I like it, and it doesn’t overwhelm you with alcohol so you can drink it as a refreshing, yet complex beer without having to take a nap afterwards.