Saturday, July 20, 2013

Gigantic Brewing Company - Hellion

It's a helluva beer.
When I was a kid in the 60's and early 70's, album art was AWESOME. Music came on LP's (vinyl, baby, vinyl) and the size of the medium allowed for a 12" X 12" piece of artwork to be prominently displayed on the front of  every record package. Music stores were practically art museums and album art was one of the MOST important marketing tools for selling music--before cassette tapes, CD's and digital formats ruined everything.

I always get excited when I find a new beer from Gigantic Brewing Company in the supermarket cold case. This Portland brewer puts out some mighty fine beers. The label art is always interesting, too, and it gets me almost as amped as the debut of a new Led Zeppelin album did back in the day.

I found a bottle of Hellion on the shelf at New Seasons today. I was immediately drawn to it by the artwork. Weird. Kind of spooky. Definitely interesting. I greedily snatched the bomber out of the case and headed for the check-out line. We'd see what kind of brew it was when I got it home.

It turns out Hellion is a Belgian-style golden ale. It boasts an ABV of 8.5% and claims to be dry-hopped. I have no idea what that has to do with the label art, which appears to be Japanese inspired. Kind of a Rising Sun/Kabuki thing going on there. It doesn't matter. It's a really cool B&W piece of artwork. I'll be soaking off the label and saving it. Now, on to the beer review!

Hellion poured from bomber into my goblet a clear, golden yellow color. The bright white head took some coaxing to come up to about a 1/2 inch tall and quickly dissipated to a spotty film of lacing. Many strings of lively carbonation rose up continuously from the bottom of the glass, however.

Aroma was bready yeast up front. Apple and pear. Belgian spice.

Taste followed the nose. Apple, pear and a good yeast funk. There was also a distinctive blast of citrus hops. Lemon and orange. Very different and I wasn't quite sure how I felt about it until the beer warmed up a bit. The stuff is delicious. Lots of subtle complexities to this brew that you have to savor to really enjoy. Let this one warm up and take some appreciative sips. You'll be glad you did.

Medium mouthfeel with just a bit of an oiliness to it. Good carbonation. Finish is semi-dry with a great spicy bite to it right at the end. Just the slightest hint of alcohol right at the end, too. No booze harshness to detract from the flavors, though.

This beer really grew on me while I polished off the bomber. Nice! I want to try it on tap. I'm giving Hellion a BeerGuyPDX rating of 4 crushed cans out of 4.

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