Sixpoint Abigale Abbey Style Ale
What a strange, tall and skinny can. The white and orange logo clashes against the backdrop of blue, purple and black fragments that form a stained glass appearance. It’s really rather pretty. Abigale, you’re so pretty…
The “Abigale” (A-big-ale) is the latest release from Sixpoint Cycliquids brewing out of Brooklyn, New York. Most famous for their “Res” and “Hi-Res” IPAs, the Abigale is Sixpoint’s shot at a Belgian Abbey style ale. Upon cracking open the tall, thin can and taking a sniff at the wide mouth, the sweet, almost pungent aroma of Belgian spices waft out to meet the nose. Taking the can into my hand, I pause for a moment wondering if I’m drinking an energy drink of some kind with the Red Bull-style packaging and its bright, flashy design.
The first sip of the ale inspires an equally confounded back and forth between the notions of a craft beer and that of a bro-dude power drink, as the sweet, almost tart spices blend into the smooth body of the beverage with its respectable 52 IBU bitterness. Being marginally heavier in terms of its feel and flavor than the average IPA or lager, but still far lighter than a porter, this Belgian Abbey style ale – complete with its dry-hopped freshness – is truly one which is best served cold.
Still struggling to get over the narrow body can and general impression the package presents, I find the ale itself is rather good. Not quite as punchy in terms of spices or citrusy sweetness as some bigger dubbels or trippels, the 8.0% alcohol per volume product from the “mad scientists” at Sixpoint offers up something of a lightly spiced refreshment that merges the worlds of the somewhat exotic Belgian and lighter, more familiar ales. It is an ale with the type of flavor and consistency that gives one a cautious optimism that the dark, brutal winter may almost be over and that the sun is almost ready to shine brightly once again.
The Abbey was first brewed by Sixpoint back in 2005, listed on their label as their own “Dark Ages.” Whether this particular offering is anything like the previous, I can’t say. I’m still a neophyte and it wasn’t until November of last year that I first came across this brewery. Having been impressed with both the Resin IPA and Sweet Action Cream Ale, I was eager to see what this unusual Brooklyn-based brewery had to offer in the way of Abbey styling. Somewhat, if only slightly more bitter than I was typically accustomed to, the Abigale did not let down. It features the smooth sip, rich yet simple mouthfeel that one expects from ales and the rather dynamic, somewhat-sweet, somewhat-tart, somewhat-bitter overall flavor profile, which blends together the notes of hops and spice very well.
With a rich, top of the tongue feeling, the general citrus sensation often associated with Belgian style beers is in this sense, almost more akin to that of an apple. With a seemingly low acidity and an apple juice-like overall flavor profile, the slight hints of tartness and subdued bitterness seem to elevate the general sense of the brew, allowing for both a crisp and refreshing experience that is also not lacking in body. In this, Sixpoint has taken a respectable swipe at the myth that one cannot get good beer from a can.
In the video below, Sixpoint founder and formulator Shane Welch discusses the history, inspiration and making of the Abigale.
Nicholas Goroff is a beer lover, writer, actor, ex-political professional and devoted anti-ideologue. Follow him on Twitter @wizardofcause.
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