When I was younger, I had a standing argument with my mom. She claimed that there was a “green flash” that occurs just before sunset, and that there are bars and places in Calfornia to use that as the end of happy hour, etc. I maintained that she had smoked a little too much of something else green while in California and that couldn’t possibly be something that happens. It became a friendly argument, and I’d tease her now and then and ask her if I should come home before the green flash…
Little did I know that my mom was not the only one that believes this*. There are, in fact, bars and brewries named after this west-coast phenomenon. Though I’ve never seen this mythical green flash, I now am convinced, at least, that my mom didn’t make it up.
So, on my last trip to California, I stared at more than a few sunsets… and also picked up a bottle of the San Diego based Green Flash Brewing Co.’s “Le Freak.” Described as a “Extreme ale converging San Diego-style imperial pale ale and Belgian-style trippel.” I tried to imagine what that might taste like. Hoppy? Sweet? Yeasty? At 9.2% ABV I decided that I’d start writing the preamble to this brew early so that my description skills didn’t abandon me halfway through the bottle.
It pours a cloudy amber yellow, with a head that is respectable, but not overly fluffy. The smell reminds me of some Belgian characteristics – there’s a bit of yeast and candy-like sweetness, but at the same time, there’s a citrusy hop note too. It’s like my brain is having trouble focusing on one or the other – however, they oscillate with grace instead of conflict. Its kind of like having something sweet and bitter on your plate and tasting them at once, your brain registers each seperately but after a while they become one entirely new flavor.
The taste of this one is similar to the smell. The best way I can describe this is that this beer has a Belgian foundation – the bready sweetness is there, but the bitter bite is the icing on the cake at the end. It comes in to remind you hey- you don’t get to revel this sugar on your tongue without a sweep of hops. The aftertaste is hoppy – a few minutes after a sip and you’d swear you’d just been sipping on an IPA. But the next rush of sweet undertones makes you forget that completely. Definitely a unique experience.
I highly recommend this beer because it has a really unique flow of flavors in your mouth – and they are good ones that you’ll recognize and go back for, sip after sip.
*P.S. If anyone has any evidence that proves or disproves the existence of said “green flash” I’d love to hear it…