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04-03-00

Beer Review #324 Spring Blonde

04-03-03As I said last week, New Belgium Brewing Company always has something new on the shelves when I visit the beer store. This go around they had a new beer to me, Spring Blonde. The bottle says that it is a “Belgian Style Ale… Inspired by our anniversary bike trips through Belgium, Spring Blonde is a bright golden ale with a sweet, lemony start, oedaling to a pleasantly bitter finish.” It comes in at 6% ABV.

Spring Blonde, true to it’s labeling, pours a nice golden color. It has a thin white head and it is perfectly clear. The nose is sweet and slightly bready. There isn’t a lot else going on but I would consider the aroma grassy.

On the first taste I got a slight bit of sweetness upfront but there isn’t a ton of malt flavor to be found. After the sweetness fades, a bitterness kicks in and follows through the rest of the beer. I didn’t get much, if any, Belgian yeast notes but more of a lager, sulfur flavor. The bitterness doesn’t sit totally right for me. It seems a bit out of balance with the beer and doesn’t taste like other blondes that I’ve had.

I didn’t really get this beer. It shows promise but it is a bit out of balance in my eyes and it just doesn’t drink nicely. It’s a light beer on the tongue and drinks fairly easily, but it’s not for me. (more…)

03-27-00

Beer Review #322 Snapshot

03-27-02New Belgium Brewing Company is one of the breweries that I can always count on to have something new on the shelves every time I go to the store. On a recent trip I picked up a few bottles of their new wheat beer titled Snapshot. It comes in at 5% and the bottle reads, “Snap! You just captured an unfiltered wheat beer full of refreshment and a smile-inducing flash of tart at the finish.” Interesting.

The beer pours a beautiful golden yellow with a thick white head. As this is an unfiltered wheat beer, it’s pretty hazy, but not as hazy as a wheat beer with yeast in it (think ¬†Hefeweizen). It has a nice light sweetness to the nose along with your traditional wheat aroma. There is a light lemon citrus smell mixed in there as well. I didn’t get any Belgian yeast odors like clove or pepper. (more…)

06-01-05

Beer Review #293 Hoppy Bock Lager

06-01-03I’m always on the prowl for an affordable new beer when I go to the beer store. New Belgium Brewing Company anyways has something new from their Lips of Faith series, but they generally are not affordable. A month or so ago I discovered Hoppy Bock Lager, which was affordable and came in a 22oz bottle. A hoppy lager sounded a little gimmicky to me, but what the hell, a solid affordable beer is always worth seeking out.

Hoppy Bock Lager pours a clear golden color and has a thin white head. It really looks like a pilsner or the like and not like something that is going to be super hop forward. This guy also comes in at 6.9% ABV which is a few ticks higher than what¬† I was expecting. The nose had a slight malt/bread component that is typical of a bock. For a beer that has hoppy in the name, I wasn’t overly impressed with the nose. There are some citrus notes, but why you say hoppy, I want hoppy.

There is a decent malt presence on the first sip of this beer. The bread really comes out, and as we all know, I love a bready beer. The hops come in halfway through but they don’t jump out. The hops are there but they aren’t crazy. I would describe the hop flavor as floral, but not bright. Hoppy Bock Lager also had a grassy flavor going through it that I didn’t particularly care for.

This beer just didn’t do it for me. I didn’t find the hops bright or excited. They were a bit too toned down for a beer that says it is hoppy, and according to the label, comes from New Belgium’s Hop Kitchen. This beer didn’t stand out and while a drinkable beer, is not repeat worthy for me. The quest continues. (more…)

Beer Review #266 Lips of Faith Tart Lychee

01-30-03I received this bottle as a Christmas present from my father-in-law. He has the outstanding quality of finding something that I have been secretly wanting to try. Tart Lychee is brewed by New Belgium Brewing Company. The screen printed bottle says that it is”56% ale aged in oak and 44% ale brewed with lychee and cinnamon.” This beer comes in at 7.5% and is part of their Lips of Faith Series of beers. I’ve had a number of beers from this series and my favorite has been Kick. I’m generally not a fan of cinnamon with pumpkin beers being the exception. Something about things flavored with cinnamon just doesn’t agree with me.

Tart Lychee pours a pale golden color. There is a slight haze at first that turns into a full haze by the end as the dregs of the bottle come into play. It pours with a thick white head that lasts for a long period of time.The nose is decidedly sour, not a bug shocker considering the beer has the work tart in its title. There is a nice little twinge in the nose as well. I can’t describe it fully, but it starts as a light malt that rapidly evolves into increasing sourness. It is a different version of sour than I got on the first whiff.

One thing I noticed when I opened the bottle is how loud the “pssssh” was when I cracked the cap. I’m sure the high carbonation that the sound is indicative of is the reason behind the large, lasting head. Before I tasted anything on this beer, the carbonation went crazy in my mouth. It almost has a champagne feel to it. Once I got over the carbonation I found a pleasant sweetness that was quickly followed by a good tart flavor. There is a very slight spice in there, but it didn’t contribute to the flavor in any big way. This beer not only feels like champagne, it tastes like it. And it’s the good stuff.

I really dig this beer. It’s wonderfully sour and properly balanced. The carbonation helps dry the beer out to an acceptable level. I had to reread the label a few times after trying this one as I couldn’t believe that it was 7.5%. This is one sneaky, delicious beer. Sour beers have really been growing on me and this is a good one. (more…)

Beer Review #235 Somersault

It has been over six months since I last had a beer from New Belgium Brewing Company. For the most part, they haven’t had a lot of new beer in my neck of the woods. Sure they have the occasional Lips of Faith beers, but they are super expensive compared to other similar styles so I usually don’t pick them up. Although I will pick up as many bottles of Kick as I can find if I see it around, no matter the price. Somersault was a beer that I wasn’t planning on getting but I need something to complete my mix and match six pack.

Somersault is a golden ale style beer that comes in at 5.2% ABV. It pours a clear golden color with just a hint of orange. The head is thin and white and fades away pretty quickly. The nose is pretty bready with a hint of fruitiness. There really wasn’t much going on in the nose, but what I did get I enjoyed.

On my first taste I was surprised to find how light the malt tasted while still being sweet. Usually a really light malt character results in a malt lacking in actual flavor, but this one was sweet. There was a slight fruit flavor which could have come from the yeast or possibly the hops. To keep on the mindset of hops, this beer has none. I didn’t get any real bitterness or traditional hop flavor out of this one. I don’t know if I had an old bottle or if it just didn’t ever exist.

This beer isn’t bad but it is nothing to write home about. It is neutral enough for new craft beer drinkers to enjoy but it will leave most craft beer drinkers wanting. On a hot day this beer would probably be nice, but I don’t think I’ll be grabbing this one to complete a six pack again. (more…)