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Not for Purists: Ale Asylum’s Bedlam! Belgian IPA Walks a Fine Line

December 06, 2018

By Jerard Fagerberg, December 06, 2018

Of all of Ale Asylum’s highly touted beers, none is rated more highly than Bedlam! Across every single beer-rating site, it’s not Kink nor High Coup nor even Velveteen Habit, but instead the unfiltered Belgian-style IPA with the demented Rudolph on the label that claims the top spot. How?

No one has ever requested a Belgian IPA. They only exist so that hop-crazed breweries can prove they can handle spicy yeast and Belgian heritage breweries can prove they’re not so traditional that they can’t respond to trends. So, how does this misfit style maintain its prestige among an increasingly cynical and discerning class of drinkers?


To the eye, Bedlam! has all the makings of a great IPA. It pours a penny orange that gradually clears at the bottom. A big, galactic swirl of foam sits at the top of the beer, refusing to dissipate even after a few introductory sips. Really classic stuff from the alchemists out in Madison.


Right away the Belgian yeast makes itself known, filling your nose with those classic pepper and clove notes. The passionfruit and grapefruit aromas of the Citra hops follow. These two facets of the aroma should war for dominance, but instead they mix playfully. I feel my beer geek cynicism eroding.

The juicy hops give the beer a nice, soft body, making every sip easy and comfortable.”


I was questioning Bedlam!’s role as a winter seasonal until the first drop hit my lips. The beer is warm and spicy, with the roasted Crystal malts providing a homey base layer to the yeast botanicals. The juicy hops give the beer a nice, soft body, making every sip easy and comfortable. If you’re the type of family that serves herb-roasted lamb for holiday dinner, there’s no better pairing.


IBU chasers beware. Trappists take heed. Bedlam! is not a simple negotiation between two unrelenting beer styles. It’s an elevation: spice, fruit, and malt all coming together for something greater than the label would assume. Bedlam! deserves its foothold atop Ale Asylum’s rankings for not only carrying the banner for the brewery but for justifying the existence of a frankenstyle.

ZX Ventures, a division within AB InBev, is an investor in October
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