Beer Review: Fiction (Belgian XPA)



Reviews are done by Jim Matt, our Head Brewer, who is also a veteran FoBAB judge, GABF judge, and BJCP Master judge.

Fiction (6.0% | 40 IBU) is a dry hopped blonde Belgian Extra Pale Ale with intense bouquet of lychee, kiwi and citrus.

Malts: Pilsner, Flaked Wheat

Hops: Bravo, Motueka, Nelson Sauvin

How did this beer come to be?

In the early days, Bob, Bryant and I sat down to discuss new beers. Bryant had his mind made up about a new beer style and what the recipe was, and I had a very different idea. After a long spirited discussion, Fiction was born. There was so much intense discussion about this beer that we should have named it, “Friction.” All good, though!

What is a Belgian XPA?

It is a made-up style. The BJCP definition of a Belgian Pale Ale offers up a malty beer with subdued yeast and hop character. Fiction was not this, and it does not fit into any real existing style. The way I like to describe it is that it has the malt bill of a Belgian Tripel, (albeit lower in starting gravity), the hop load of an American IPA, but we use Southern Hemisphere hops in it, and the yeast character of a Belgian Dubbel (low phenolics, moderately high esters).

Isn’t Fiction one of the most distinct beers we brew?

It is for sure. The hops we use in Fiction are notoriously difficult to obtain, hence its scarcity. Few other beers use the combination of New Zealand hops and the specific Belgian yeast strain that we use.

Fiction is a brewery-favorite, why do you think that is?

For one thing, it is scarce. And another reason is the unique character of the beer relative to the rest of our portfolio.

Why do you enjoy Fiction?

I just love how the yeast and hops play off of one another in this beer while still being dry, and somewhat sessionable.

Appearance: Yellow in color with light haze, moderate head with excellent retention.

Aroma: A very complex aroma with notes of banana, pear, apple, white wine, coconut, mango, guava and lychee; a very low malt aroma.

Taste: The fruit character from the hops meet the tastebuds first with complex tropical, stone fruit, and guava notes. The fruity esters come mid-palate with a hint of pear and banana and the finish is dry, medium bitterness and light acidity.

Mouthfeel: Light body and medium-high carbonation.

Overall: A light (in color), dry ale with a complex melange of fruit flavors and aromas.

What foods would pair well with Fiction?

Thai Seafood Salad (Yum Talay) or Key Lime Pie.

Ideal glassware for Fiction?

I’d go with a tulip glass is best to concentrate the fruity aromas.

Published on by Rhinegeist.