Manayunk Brewing Company. Was their beer this good 14 years ago? If so, why did I waste all that time drinking margaritas there? 2012 Marci needs to go back and slap 1998 Marci. Sheesh.
Thankfully Manayunk Brewing Company distributes their beer in the area and I found this one one draught at Pinocchio's Beer Garden in Media (Pennsylvania). FYI...Pinocchio's has a substantial list of draught beers and an impressive bottle shop. Be warned. The great selection of individual bottles of beer is nearly overwhelmed by the insane layout of the bottle shop. It made me want to pull my hair out. Long, narrow space. Coolers on one side. Cashier and walk up bar on the other. Too many people milling about drinking. Why weren't they in the bar drinking? I just wanted to shop and hit the road and, man, that was a challenge.
But I digress. The St. Alpha is a hybrid of two different styles -- a Belgian and an IPA. From Manayunk's website, I learned that it contains ingredients from both sides of the pond. Aromas of apricot and banana from the Belgian yeast combine with the piney, citrusy aroma of American hops to create a wonderfully complex bouquet. This golden-colored ale's taste is dominated by the assertive bitterness of the hops while maintaining a balance that will please fans of both Belgian and hoppy American styles of beer. 8.5% ABV, 65 IBUs.
Here's what I thought. It poured a light golden honey color with very little to no head. The aroma is fruity but I didn't pick up on any banana. The banana comes out in the taste for me. There was also some nice black pepper dancing about. The flavor also revealed some resinous hops. Pine is a pretty dominant taste. I wrote in my notes that it is a very hoppy Belgian. A bit unusual but quite good.