SEEMINGLY MORE a restaurant than a brewery, Brickstone of Bourbonnais, IL, has nonetheless managed to rack up a respectable medal tally in the past few years. Most recently its Belgo APA (not even mentioned on the website) took gold at 2013’s GABF in the American-Belgo category, topping such vaunted other outfits as Pizza Port, Green Flash, Bear Republic, and Revolution.
While Brickstone may lack the name recognition of its competitors, the Belgo-APA has no shortage of confidence. Its aroma is robustly Belgian, akin to a fuller, less dusty Saison, strong (but not heavy) on tangerine, marmalade, and vanilla. The American fusion comes in through some grassy hops—undertones in the aroma, more notable on the palate—but the beer overall is lower in bitterness than many in the style. Its flavors shift towards the American side, pronounced in caramel malts, with little yeast in the finish. Overall the Belgian qualities are underrepresented on the palate, showing mostly in the lightness of body and sparkly carbonation of the finish. An appealing and well-presented beer overall, it’s not quite as brilliant as its shiny new medal would imply.
Served: On tap (Beer Hoptacular, Chicago)