Great Lakes Brewing Company (GLBC) recently released a new beer called Spacewalker American Belgo. In true Great Lakes fashion all of their beers relate to Cleveland or Ohio history. This one is in honor of the astronauts that have been from Ohio. From the GLBC web site:
Spacewalker American Belgo is named for the surprising number of astronauts who have called Ohio home. Brewed with Belgian yeast and American hops, including the experimental ADHA 881 hop, Spacewalker is bold yet balanced with spicy, fruity flavors.
The ADHA 881 hop adds an interesting dimension to this beer. More on that in a minute.
ABV: 8.2% IBU: 65
My opinion that this beer is a decent Belgian Tripel with the addition of high alpha hops. Good head retention and well carbonated for the style. Right off the bat I noticed the Belgian flavor profile from the yeast and a very bitter aftertaste from the hops. Since I’ve never had a beer with these new experimental hops I’m not sure how to describe it. The hops made the beer a little more bitter then what I’m used to from a typical Belgian Tripel which makes sense as the IBU level (65) puts the hop level into the category that is typical for an IPA. I could pull out a little fruity flavor like you should in a Belgian type of beer but I felt the hops overpowered these flavors. It’s not a terrible beer but it didn’t have the wow factor I was looking for. With the bitterness, aftertaste and high ABV I didn’t have the urge to have more than one. In my opinion beers like Victory Golden Monkey have really set the bar for what a fantastic and well rounded Belgian Tripel is all about.
Interesting take on a Belgian style beer but it ended up a little too bitter for the style and with the high ABV you won’t be drinking many of these as a session beer. Kudos to GLBC for pushing the envelope on the Belgian style and I’m looking forward to seeing how this seasonal evolves in the future. 3/5 Stars