Welcome to the Drink in the Sights Brel Belgium Style IPA from William Brothers Beer Review. We're back in ALDI and we're back with Alloa's favourite sons the William Brothers Brewery for Brel, their take on a Belgium Style IPA. As I had no idea what Brel was meant to mean I gave it a quick Google and Wikipedia told me that Jacques Brel is a singer/songwriter/actor/director from Belgium. He sounds quite talented so I really hope the beer lives up to his name. I'm not really 100% sure what to expect from this as while I've had Trappist style Belgium beers and Belgium wheat beers I'm not sure I've had a Belgium style IPA before. Lets see what it's all about.
Brel comes in a presentable enough 330ml black can which gives all the information you'd expect. While when I think of Belgium beers I always assume there'll be an alcohol percentage verging on double figures I was still slightly surprised to see Brel clock in at 5.7%. Sure it's quite a mundane percentage for a Belgium beer, but for a just over one pound offering from a budget supermarket it actually feels quite generous. The brewers describe Brel as 'featuring a complex hoppy profile & underlying fruity character of coriander and orange peel.' It doesn't really sound overly appealing does it?
The beer pours surprisingly well, and the ample creamy head lasts quite a long time, which I like. The body is a clear amber, but slightly darker than I was initially expecting. It's a really good looking beer. The aroma is pleasant, there's some good sweet fruity smells coming through mixed with caramel and bitter scents. Brel actually smells just slightly like a good Trappist beer so maybe there really are some Flemish notes in there. If this beer tastes as good as it looks and smells then we could be in for a bit of a treat.
The texture is reasonably full bodied for an IPA and the taste is entirely pleasant. There's a nice level of bitterness mixed with the sweet fruits and maybe some blackcurrant flavours. It's certainly not as sweet as a proper Belgium Trappist beer, but it's sweeter than most English IPA's you'll have tried. It almost feels like two different beer styles mixed together, which makes it really surprising that it works. Brel is certainly up there with the best budget supermarket beers you'll find, and with the 5.7% alcohol content it really is a bargain. I'm going to give Brel from William Brothers 8 out of 10. It's a really good, if slightly confusing beer.