As a super beer geek I'm always on the lookout for what's new on the shelves or the taps. I won't deny that there are certain styles I gravitate toward but if someone gives me something to try that I haven't had before, regardless of style, I'm willing to give it a go. Sometimes I'm right in finding that I did not like the Belgian Quad that my drinking companion let me try. Sometimes I find myself pleasantly surprised by the Rauchbier whose initial smell was intimidating turned out to taste pretty good.
Such was the case with the Portland Brewing Rose Hip Gold that I was gifted. Being a Belgian-Style Ale, based on its style alone I would have been hard pressed to order it. However from the start, pouring it out of the bottle, I was surprised. With "gold" in the name I expected something a color along the lines of a blonde ale, not this rich golden/amber color that filled my glass. The aroma continued to surprise, subtle and atypical to what I expect from a Belgian. Then to the flavor, again a subtleness instead of an overpowering, disagreeable, banana-clove bomb.
I'm not suggesting that this beer made me, or will make you, a Belgian beer convert but I would suggest giving it a try. Rose hips are an interesting ingredient, one I know I haven't had a beer containing it before, and I appreciate Portland Brewing working to remain relevant in the craft beer market. Just like Summit and Schell's (MN breweries) that are part of the old guard, resting on their laurels is dangerous. I don't like every new thing they are trying out but the effort is appreciated. Old dogs can learn new tricks.