Some beers are considered to be in a class all their own, sui generis. One example is Orval, which is a classic, Trappist-brewed Belgian pale ale, bottle conditioned with Brettanomyces yeast. Many individuals try to replicate this historic brew at home through various recipes with varying degrees of success. Commercial micro-breweries also try to close in on the unique style, and one such attempt is Rayon Vert, a Belgian pale ale from San Diego, CA-based Green Flash Brewing Co. Of course, “rayon vert” translates directly to “green flash” and the company states on its website: “If Green Flash were founded in historical Belgium, this would be our flagship beer.”
Poured from an embossed 12-oz. bottle, Rayon Vert is everything the brewery promises in appearance and aroma. A golden brew with active carbonation and a foamy white head appears in the glass. The aroma is dry, with a slight barnyard funk and biscuity yeast scent, followed by a hint of floral hops. Rayon Vert does not disappoint in taste either, providing a strong, interesting “Brett” character — dry funk and effervescence with a delicious hop finish. For its 7% ABV, the beer goes down easily, and provides an enjoyably complex drinking experience.
Green Flash Brewing’s ode to Belgian pale ale is a remarkably satisfying American craft beer. As this beer is bottle conditioned with two distinct yeast strains, Rayon Vert will provide a different sip each time you open a bottle. The brew has wide distribution, so snag a couple and try one now, then cellar another for a few months to see how the flavors and qualities develop over time.
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