A while back, I complained about the relative lack of Colorado-brewed Belgian styles. Ale Diablo is a notable exception to this prevailing condition.
Clearly, Steamworks put a lot of thought, effort and money into this Belgian-style golden ale. The fall seasonal was bottled in 24-ounce wine bottles, topped by a cork and cage. I purchased mine for $9.99 at a local liquor store.
Brewers Ken Martin and Spencer Roper devised a recipe that incorporates juice from Riesling grapes, which create the white wine of the same name.
“Typically, Belgian double blonde ale is the style we brew for the Diablo,” Martin said in an August news release. “But we’ve used juice of Riesling grapes during fermentation, plus a Belgian strong golden yeast strain for the first time this year. The aroma of the beer is more spicy and peppery with hints of clove and fruit. On the palate the beer will have a light, soft malt character with slight green apple tartness and a hint of citrus.”
Ale Diablo (8.5 percent ABV, 33 IBUs) pours very pale, even compared to most golden ales. Some fizzy, white carbonation lingers.
The taste is largely to style: a bit sweet, a bit funky, a bit delicious. The Riesling grapes do lend a fruity taste reminiscent of white wine. Ale Diablo is very dry.
It is a strong beer, and the alcohol provides a pleasant warming sensation throughout. It might not be a bad idea to share your bottle with another, as I did.
Ale Diablo compares well with other Belgian goldens available in Colorado, including Ska's True Blonde Dubbel and Avery's Salvation. They're all very good, and I'd love to see which would come out ahead in a blind tasting.
Belgian goldens seem celebratory, like something one could drink at a wedding. They also go damn well with all kinds of food. Ale Diablo is an angelic Belgian beer. A-