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Sunday, February 26, 2006

BridgePort Supris

BridgePort is known ... well, mainly for its IPA. Among the beer geek set, it is known for the English-style ales of Karl Ockert, who brews perhaps the most authentic versions of the Isles' originals. So it is an interesting new foray for BridgePort into the land of Belgians with the new Supris. (They've apparently tried to do a viral internet campaign, which is just embarrassing--Google "Supris" to see.)

Belgian ales--and particularly American versions--are always hard to review because you have no reference point. Supris has qualities of a Belgian golden like Duvel ("Devil"), though it's milder. Duvel is triple-fermented, Supris double; Duvel employs Styrian and Saaz hops, Supris those plus Hersbrucker. If it's not exactly a strong golden, it's lineage seems evident. At six percent, I can't call it a strong, but how about a little Devil?

Tasting notes
It pours out with a vigorous bead; honey-colored, cloudy and golden. The head is snowy and a nitro-like tuft remained on my glass until the last swallow. The nose had a tart, cellary yeast smell that was pure Belgian (the first test). I got hints of citrus, mineral, and a candy undertone (perhaps from high mashing temperatures that produce high unfermentables?).

Supris has a soft palate, enlivened by the prickly effervescence. It is fruity but tart, and finishes with a gentle sweetness. The hopping is pretty subtle, which allows the yeast to come forward--a good, if commercially risky call. I drank it alone, but because the palate is crisp but not intense I suspect it would be great with food.

It's an authentic Belgian effort, if slightly muted. Even so, I wonder if it will find much of a market. I wouldn't call it a classic, but it's a nice beer.

Stats
Hops: Styrian, Saaz and Hallertau Hersbrucker
Alcohol By Volume: 6.0%
Original Gravity: 14.5
BUs: 17

Rating
Good

11 comments:

  1. hurray for Beervana! strong coming out article...good man.

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  2. Bravo. Can't wait to return...

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  3. Love the new blog. I had the Supris the other day and to my palate, unlearned in the ways of beer-geekery, I just didn't care for it much. It grew on me a little over the course of a few sips, though. As you said, not a classic, but not a bad beer. And not one I'll necessarily order again. Not when their IPA is an option. Looking forward to reading more!

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  4. Oh good lord...pressure now!

    Steve, your palate is probably about like the average Oregon palate--educated far beyond average Bud man, but not familiar enough with Belgians to immediately love Supris. So the question is, will it actually succeed? I'd actually like to see it.

    (Incidentally, someone go buy a bottle of Duvel and Supris and compare them back to back and tell me what you think.)

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  5. I may have to take you up on that. I hear Belmont Station calling...

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  6. Thanks for the review, Jeff! I've read some beer-publication blurbs on Supris, but this was actually the first in-depth analysis I've come across. A couple of weeks ago I had my first Supris on tap, and I felt like that was a preferrable way to drink it. The bottle (if not decanted) tends to work through about 4 or 5 flavors by the end, perhaps leaving the beer-drinkers with a big question as to what they actually drank. The tongue needs about two sips of draft Supris before it settles on "Belgian" and enjoyment ensues. It is a seasonal, so it'll be around until at least August (about the time Ebenezer starts being packaged).

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  7. aha! i knew you couldn't go wrong with a beer blog...everyone loves beer!

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  8. > ...buy a bottle of Duvel and
    > Supris and compare them back
    > to back and tell me what you
    > think.


    Went to Belmont Station last night and bought a bottle of each. I'll do the taste test in the next couple days and report. I told the guy at the counter what I was planning to do and he burst out laughing, saying Supris didn't hold a candle to Duvel... We shall see.

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  9. Well, he's going to be right. I think the interesting thing isn't which is best, but in what ways did BridgePort succeed/fail when compared with a world classic like Duvel. You never really know until you have 'em side by side.

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  10. For some classic Alworth-musings on BridgePort (as well as a few other old WW Mash articles) click here.

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