I have a sticker on my hand that says "$6.20" and on my desk I have a 330 ml bottle of Struis. In the US, that price gets the best part of a decent six pack of craft beer. In Ontario, it gets you half a six of Unibroue's Trois Pistoles or a large Chimay Premiere. So, for my dollar, this beer from Brouwerij 't IJ has got some pretty good competition and really has some explaining to do.
Richly clinging pale pine lumber head over orange amber ale, much muddier after the final pour and yeasty shake. On the nose a hop basket - your Grannie's knitting basket that is as these have a haunting waft of musty attic. On these mouth, it starts to make sense. This is like Orval taken up a notch or two with 9% alcohol and a bigger maltier profile. Rather than cover up the booze with malt, this one blends it in with the orange peel, twiggy and lavender hops giving a aged spicy effect. This sits over fig and raisin malt. Steely finish. My creaky Dutch tells me the label's claim of biobeer as well as ongefiltered and ongepasteuriseerd refers to some organic status, unfiltered and unpasturised. Imported to the US by Shelton Brothers, there is strong but not universal BAer support.
Is a small bottle like this worth it? For a try, sure - go ahead. After a try, if you love it, why not buy more? But if it is not the beer you absolutely love, I see the price point as a real issue for this one when you consider it sells for the same price as a 330ml Chimay Premiere at the fine bottle shop Cracked Kettle in Amsterdam. Where'd that price difference come from in mid-Atlantic transit?