Friday, September 07, 2007


In the not-too-distant future I plan to tell the tale of last Friday’s AVERY BREWING vs. RUSSIAN RIVER BREWING beer dinner I attended, a bacchanalian evening of heavy food and amazing, world-beating high-alcohol beer. I took a vow of beer celibacy for five big days following said event. If you were there, you probably did too. No, this post today is about a recent evening in which I paired two white beers, aka witbiers, against each other in a no holds-barred drink off. Both “won”, but of course I was the biggest winner of all.

First up was RUSSIAN RIVER BREWING’s entrant, LITTLE WHITE LIE, enjoyed on tap at Lanesplitter Pizza in Berkeley, CA. Now what’s interesting about this tasting was that, 1 year after my first encounter with the beer, my enthusiasm for this one dipped a full two points, from the 9/10 we bestowed upon it last time to the 7/10 I’m going with now. Who can say why. I’ll say that this is a witbier with a little bit of the funk about it; i.e. compared to most examples of the form, this one’s more of a sipper than a gulper. Totally opaque, very yeasty tasting, and with heartier, almost dough-like mouthfeel. I didn’t have the over-the-top rapturous experience with it I had last time, and yet it was quite delicious nonetheless. My take-away is that the witbier formula was deliberately tampered with here to make something slightly strange & unique. “What a surprise” from our friends at Russian River.

Later that evening, back in the safety of the home, I gave myself up to BLANCHE DE CHAMBLY, a product of the UNIBROUE corporation. This lovely beer was blessed with a truly eye-watering orange/lemon smell, and was just as cloudy and unfiltered-tasting as the Little White Lie. Again, quite yeasty, with a lot of thickness as well. Truth be told, the carbonation produced numerous gaseous escapes from my throat. Good thing that family was away for the evening. It’s not a Bondsian knock out of the park, but I gave it a 7.5/10, about what I’d expect from UNIBROUE, unlike the last one I had from them. Advantage UNIBROUE by a nose.

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