Tuesday, March 27, 2007

THE MANLY MUSK OF A BOYSENBERRY WHEAT ALE

I’ve always had a softer spot in my beer-drinker’s heart than most fellas for fruit- and spice-flavored beers. Hell, I remember drinking a raspberry wheat ale at some great microbrewery in Chicago in the early 1990s that totally blew me away, and from then on I decided that sweet fruits and good beer could indeed coexist, and coexist well. Well, the judges behind the BOSTON BEER/SAMUEL ADAMS corporation agree with me, as their recent “Longshot” homebrewers competition results attest. As I understand it, the Sam Adams folks held a national contest whereby American homebrewers submitted their best concoctions to a panel of judges. The winners got to not only have their beers mass-produced and packaged by Sam Adams, but they also got their pictures on the front of the bottles – with their beers inside. Very cool. Uli and Jeff, you know what you need to do next year.

The 2006 LONGSHOT SERIES, which had three winners and which was released to the public last month, is packaged is 6-packs with two 12-oz. bottles each of the winners. I was able to buy single bottles of the Dortmunder-Style Export and the BOYSENBERRY WHEAT, the latter of which I tasted a couple weeks ago. This one was actually the product of a Sam Adams employee named Ken Smith, who got his beer packaged with those of the two homebrewers (the other one is an Old Ale that I haven’t tried yet). Anyway, Ken’s brew is not too shabby, just not something I’d probably jump for again. His blind spot was in carbonating the hell out of this thing, making it a fizzy fruit bomb that overwhelms many of its best characteristics – which are there, you just have to sniff around for them. I liked how the malts blended in a manner that almost made this taste like a Belgian pale ale, and the hops for this one were noticeably absent (which is fine, all the more to get the flavor of the fruit out there). But in sum it was just OK. Still, if I could home-brew a beer even this respectable I’d be damn proud, as Mr. Ken Smith ought to be. 6/10.

1 comment:

BigO said...

I too had an opportunity to try the LongShot series. I was very impressed with the Dortmunder Union. I'm not normally too keen on fruit and beer, but actually enjoyed the Boysenberry Wheat. On the other hand I didn't enjoy was the Old Ale. I felt it was much too malty, felt like I was chewing bread. But those are my tastes.