Portland Brewing’s spring seasonal, of which they sent me a sample recently, is their Rose Hip Gold, a “Belgian-style ale with notes of fruit and spice and a little citrusy bite from a generous addition of rose hips in the kettle.” I believe they had first released this last year as a new beer in the revamped (re-birthed?) retro line of branding Portland Brewing was undergoing (since they were originally Portland, then MacTarnahan’s, then back).
With 6% abv and 25 IBUs, I found a bit more of the Belgian-style character in this year’s vintage than I remember finding last year, which was nice. The copper-orange color looks like a dark honey in the glass, topped by a slightly off-white head that settled down to a skiff after the initial pour.
The light banana phenolics in the aroma combine with the sweetish malts to give a bit of that Belgian-y character, though I have to say I didn’t find the rose hips I was looking for—in the nose or the flavor. It’s a nice cross in taste between a Belgian strong and Belgian golden style, to my palate, with nice spicy phenolic character with a clean body. The barest hint of tang reveals the rose hips, and I would really like more.
It’s a bit on the heavy side, sweeter, medium-bodied with a yeast-spicy finish. A nicely drinkable beer, and I would really like to see the rose hips shine—it could do well with the tangy fruit lightening it up and bringing more of a bite to it. Overall though, it drinks easily.