I first cast eyes on Le Freak from San Diego's Green Flash Brewing Co. during a recent visit to the fine Cook Street Liquor Village. It looked like everything I dream of. Described as an "American Imperial IPA meets Belgian Tripel," this sounded like a beer to satisfy the hop monster inside me as well as one to quench my cravings for fruit and spice that only a Belgian beer can conjure. When the guy behind the counter sang its praises calling it an "IPA first and a Belgian second" I was stoked for the hop tsunami that would soon be unleashed on my tastebuds.
Le Freak pours a nice orange amber and has a fine aroma of sweet fruit. It has a prominent entry of banana, a flavour which is present throughout. Mixed with this are the flavours of mulled spices, especially cinnamon, that blend with the taste of banana. Unlike how it was billed, this beer is most certainly a Belgian Tripel first, and an IPA second, something fairly unique for a beer of this sort brewed in North America. It is surprisingly malty for an Imperial IPA, and although the hop flavour and bitterness are in good balance, it is somewhat too fruity, especially with banana. Even though more hops and less banana would greatly improve this beer, it is still enjoyable, but not something I would buy again.