Green Flash Le Freak
October 16, 2012
It’s difficult to review a beer called Le Freak without immediately unspooling in your head the lyrics of the song by the same name. I so didn’t want to go that route; resorting to a cheap and easy tie-in between an oddball concept and a beer. Luckily I managed to find, albeit in a very round-about way, a tie-in between the two other than a shared nomenclature.
The disco band, Chic, caught a lucky break after being denied access to the infamous Studio 54 one New Year’s Eve. Feeling snubbed on such a party-down occasion as New Year’s, they went and penned a song originally titled something we can’t print here. Cooler heads prevailed and they changed the title and lyrics to what became both Atlantic Records’ and Warner Music Group’s biggest single until a certain Italian-American came along with her song about striking poses like mannequins.
Chic were trailblazers… unafraid to take chances and open to new things, much like Green Flash Brewery out of San Diego. Just as the disco scene of the 70s was over-populated with mediocrity as far as the eye could see, Green Flash had to shout to be heard over the noise and clatter of the hundreds of craft and micro breweries popping up along the west coast. Their unofficial motto is go big, take chances, create something new.
Le Freak was a risky beer style to pull off. The Belgians had already created their own version of pale ale, the Americans had attempted cloning that style from them… but to combine a Belgian tripel with an Imperial IPA? Few have tried, Green Flash got it right.
Take a high-gravity beer by style, ferment it with Belgian ale yeast and they dry-hop it and re-ferment in bottle and you’ve got Le Freak. Big hop oil presence lets the bottle-conditioned-driven head stick around for a while and coat the glass like Spider-man just swung through. Color is cloudy orange like a sunset with brilliant scents of flowers, banana and clove via the yeast and orange-pineapple from the hops. Flavors are a wow-inducing combination of zesty, citrusy, lemony, piney hops with spiced bread, apricot and grapefruit. Tread carefully around this perfectly-balanced hybrid; the 9.2% alcohol content could easily get you disco dancing.
Green Flash is new to our area, so don’t overlook them and leave them out of your party. C’est chic, indeed!