Bounty Bev were sampling the goods and gloating. One of them (he goes by Josh Scutella) made a crazy claim that the new Rayon Vert Belgian-Style Pale Ale was better than Goose Island Matilda. That's a pretty bold statement. It got me wondering. If it really was better than Matilda, how would it compare the classic Orval? I needed to find out for myself and wasted no time picking up four packs of Double Stout, Hop Head Red, West Coast IPA, and the beer in question - Rayon Vert. I was offered a bottle to review, but I was not about to wait. I love Green Flash and I had not tried this one yet. The suspense was killing me.
Rayon Vert Belgian-Style Pale Ale
Green Flash Brewing Co. -San Diego, CA
Smitty's Review: Sampled at 50 degrees. Pours amber with a one finger retentive ivory head. Aroma of floral hops and lemony esters. Medium bodied with a semi-soft, fine carbonation. Flavor of Belgian pale malts, honey, and perhaps a hint of hibiscus. This is countered by a bold citrusy and grassy bitterness, which to me seems a tad more hop forward than other examples of this style. Dry and lemon grass finish with a hint of lemony funk. I agree with Brandon Jones (Embrace the Funk) and Michael Semich (Nashville Beer Hunter), the Brettanomyces yeast character is a little young. A little more time in the bottle will dry this out and perhaps add additional depth to this beer. But it's definitely enjoyable now and I high recommend it. It's a repeat buy for me.
So is it better than Matilda? That is a close call. Josh may be on to something. I need revisit Matilda (not available in TN) and drink these side by side because it's very close. Rayon Vert is definitely the hoppier of the two. Better than Orval? Not for me, but Orval a classic and tough beer to take down. But as I stated earlier, Rayon Vert is young and will evolve in the bottle. Who knows where this beer will go. Since these are sold in 4 packs (THANK YOU), it's easy to set a few back and see how they develop.
• Rating*: 9.5 out of 10
• Recommended Food Pairing: Cheese (gouda, feta, gorgonzola, havarti, blue), white pizza, pork chops, rotisserie chicken, white fish, scallops
• Beer Audience: Hop heads and Belgian beer enthusiasts
• Where to buy: Craft beer specialty stores like Midtown, Frugal MacDoogal, J Barleycorn, Red Dog, Graces Plaza, etc.
• Other Green Flash beers to try: Hop Head Red, Double Stout, Le Freak, Barleywine, West Coast IPA
* rating system based on aroma (1 pt), appearance (1pt), palate (2 pts) flavor (3pts), comparison to other commercial examples of the style (3pts)