Mad River The Mad Belgian Golden Ale, a seasonal offering from Mad River Brewing, poured a cloudy chestnut color, with a small, off-white head. Belgian yeast dominated the nose, with fruity esters leading over toffee and a slightly herbal undertone.
Mad River Mad Belgian Ale opened sweet and soft, with a slight bitterness and the herbal note in the nose skating underneath the banana sweetness. A peppery spice quickly dried out the ale and brought out white pepper, clove, and a bit of alcohol. As the ale dried out the pallet, the sweetness took on pear and finally peach characterizes. The ale faded earthy and even a bit minty.
Mad River Mad Belgian Golden Ale brings all the classic Belgian yeast characteristics to the table, and handles the balance of spice and fruit pretty well. There is a bit more alcohol and thickness to the ale than seemed necessary, and it seemed to have more in common with Belgian-styled pale ales than a classic golden ale, but if you can get past the heat and the sharp spice, there’s a lot to enjoy.