Urthel Hop It – a Belgian or a Dutch beer; an Indian Pale Ale or a Strong Pale Ale? You can find all of these relating to the beer.
The fact is, it is today commercially produced at the Konigshoeven brewery (La Trappe) in Berkel-Enschot approximately 15km. across the border in Holland. Hildegard van Ostaden created the beer, following on from the success of Urthel Samaranth in Ruiselde, West Flanders. From 2005 it was produced for her Leyarth brewery at the Van Steenberg (Gulden Draak) brewery.
La Trappe took it over from 2007 and subsequently it was widely marketed through Bavaria who operate the Konigshoeven brewery. So I think it’s fair to say Urthel is a Belgian beer based in Holland.
As regards beer type; for me the classical Belgian IPA is Houblon Chouffe: This beer is nowhere near as bitter or complex so I’ll pitch it up against the Troubadour Magma that I recently said was a good introduction to the style and is only marginally weaker (9.5 % alc. Vol for the Urthel compared to 9,0 for the Troubadour).
The beer, as nearly always, looks good; a good carbonation, creamy white head and a deep golden colour. The aroma was on the subtle side; sweet malt and hops with background spice and alcohol.
Medium honey sweet and hop taste followed by malt and some yeast spiciness. Fruit esters found it hard to establish themselves and the bitterness could have been more. The alcohol showed itself enough to make you realise the strength.
The sensation ended with a reasonable bitter sweet follow through. A good smooth beer, but not an IPA, more a slightly bitterer strong pale ale. Overall I preferred the Troubadour which gave a drier, fruitier impression.
Happy Beer Drinking for 2015!