Belgium is a country built on beer greatness. You could holiday in the grottiest Belgian town imaginable but the stay would be worthwhile for the decent beers at your disposal.
6 Degrees North is a brewery in Scotland created by Belgofiles. Scottish breweries have been excelling in recent years, with many of them creating enjoyable beers based on popular Scottish beer styles, but 6 Degrees North prefer to lean on Belgium’s heritage for their influences. Not only do they exclusively brew their own interpretations of Belgian style beers, their brewery name even relates to its proximity to their favourite brewing country.
Right now I’m experiencing their Scottish / Belgian wares for the first time, in the shape of ‘Hop Classic’, something they describe as a ‘Belgian IPA’.
Even before pouring, the familiar yeasty smell of Belgium hisses from the top of the un-capped bottle. There’s some hoppy perfume in there too, but it’s the yeast that dominates. The reaction to the beer as it swills around my glass is similarly Belgian – instantly frothing up in an excitably lively manner.
It’s not until the first sip that a wallop of Britishness interrupts the beer’s continental composure. A fistful of hop bitterness rolls up its sleeves and launches into a ruckus with the big, yeasty flavours. It’s a right ding dong affair, with soft citrus fruit and toffee apple nuttiness all flying around as flavour shrapnel. It’s a big boozy brawl, evenly fought and one you would gladly pay for a rematch.
Made up beer style names, like ‘Belgian IPA’, often annoy me but for once this is probably an apt description of the product.
It’s not surprising that new breweries continue to look to Belgium for beer inspiration, but with the Scottish brewing scene so strong at the moment it may be that some day a Belgian brewery will look six degrees north to give a Scottish twist to their beers. And we’ll be ready when it happens.
Beer supplied by Beer52
Brewery: 6 Degrees North, Aberdeen, Scotland
Beer name: Hop Classic
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