The Beer Savant

September 25, 2013

Great White

Filed under: Ale,American,Witbier — hikingsandiego @ 9:24 pm
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Date: September 2013
Cost: $7.99/6-pack at Sprouts
Brewery: Lost Coast Brewery, Eureka, California
Alcohol content: 4.8%
Served: Cold in a chilled glass

As the end of summer neared, San Diego’s weather decided to get one last hot punch in before giving way to fall. The last several weeks of August/early September were wretchedly hot. Although the local libation providers were already displaying fall brews, I wanted something lighter…more refreshing…to mitigate the brutal heat. Great White seemed to fit the bill.

Great White poured a mild yellow with a slight head and lacing. It carried the scent of summer…a light wheat and citrus. And the scent carried through to its taste…light wheat and citrus, with a hint of herb. These are nice traits, yes, but I would have liked to taste them more; as it was, I found myself straining to taste anything. It’s a refreshing beer—the right lightness and crisp flavor for a hot day—but a beer can be refreshing and flavorful as well. Great White’s cousin, Tangerine Wheat Ale, is a good example of a refreshing beer that’s chockfull of flavor. I don’t think that Great White will find itself in my shopping cart again.


November 17, 2012

Shock Top Pumpkin Wheat

Filed under: American,Belgian,Pumpkin,Wheat — hikingsandiego @ 9:24 pm
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Shock Top Pumpkin WheatDate: November 17, 2011
Cost: $7.99/six-pack at Ralphs
Brewer:  Anheuser-Busch, St. Louis, Missouri
Alcohol content: 5.2%
Served: Cold in chilled glasses

I was pleasantly surprised when I tried “regular” Shock Top in May 2011. I’m generally disappointed by the watery, flavorless concoctions produced by corporate brewers, but Shock Top—with a twist of orange—was a pleasant exception to the rule. So when I saw a display of Shock Top Pumpkin Wheat, I didn’t hesitate to place a six-pack in my shopping cart.

Shock Top Pumpkin pours a nice pumpkin orange with a slight cream-colored head. Take a sniff and enjoy the scent of spices, caramel, and hops. Again, I was nicely surprised by this beer. The Pumpkin Wheat delivers a full-body pumpkin/spice flavor that blends nicely with its hops and wheat base. No add-ons like a twist of orange needed…I noticed a slight pumpkin flavor that admittedly did get overpowered by the taste of orange. I detected no bitterness and no bad aftertaste from my first sip to my last. I’m picky about my pumpkin and Oktoberfest beers, so with that in mind, I’m declaring Shock Top Pumpkin a winner! I’ll definitely buy it again.

September 23, 2012

Tangerine Wheat Ale

Filed under: Ale,American,Fruit,Wheat — hikingsandiego @ 7:30 pm
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Tangerine Wheat AleDate: September 2012
Cost: $6.99/6-pack at Ralphs
Brewery: Lost Coast Brewery, Eureka, California
Alcohol content: 5.0%
Served: Cold in a chilled glass and chilled in the bottle

September has been brutal in San Diego: temperatures in the 90s and 100s, alternating between tropical rainforest humid and desert dry. When I saw a six-pack of Tangerine Wheat Ale on sale at Ralph’s, I thought that sounded like a nice, light, fruity beer that would put a cold kibosh on the murderous heat. And I was right.

Let me preface this by saying that it wasn’t love at first taste. My initial reaction to the first sip was that the tangerine flavor was delightful, but the ale behind it was weak. Still, not a bad summer beer.

Subsequent bottles have made this beer grow on me. Served cold, really cold on a blistering summer day, this beer is like a liquid oasis. The spicy, fruity tangerine and cold, mellow ale flavoring mixed with the chill of the fridge will make you feel civilized again. It’s a different beer with a unique flavor, and I’ll definitely buy it again.

August 4, 2011

Leinenkugel Sunset Wheat

Filed under: Ale,American,Wheat,Witbier — hikingsandiego @ 9:31 pm
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Leinenkugel Sunset WheatDate: July 21, 2011
Cost: NA
Brewery: Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company, Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin
Alcohol content: 4.8%
Served: Cold by the glass at the Spaghetti Factory in San Diego

It was a day of adventures. We spent the morning and afternoon at Comic-Con, where we took in a lifetime of weirdness in one day. It was grand! I listened to one of my favorite authors, Christopher Moore, speak on a panel. I learned how a steampunk proton pack works. And I watched as the entire cast of “The Big Bang Theory” walked across the sidewalk in front of me and entered their hotel. Whew! All that excitement works up an appetite and a thirst. We decided to take care of both at the Spaghetti Factory.

A day of adventures shouldn’t end with a mundane order such as spaghetti and red wine, so I ordered the crab ravioli and a Leinenkungel’s Sunset Wheat. Let me tell you, my choices were spot on.

Leinenkugel’s Sunset Wheat pours a hazy golden yellow, and indeed, it does look like a summer sunset. I could smell the rich fruity and floral fragrances before the glass touched my lips. And the taste followed through. The beer was served with a slice of orange, and I squeezed it into the glass, enhancing the already citrus taste of the beer. Orange, lemon, wheat, and a little spice made this an interesting and rich beer to savor. The carbonation was just right. I felt refreshed down to the soles of my very tired, sore feet.

May 15, 2011

Shock Top

Filed under: Ale,American,Wheat,Witbier — hikingsandiego @ 9:39 pm
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Shock TopDate: May 13, 2011
Cost: NA
Brewer:  Anheuser-Busch, St. Louis, Missouri
Alcohol content: 5.2%
Served: Cold in chilled glasses, side of unsalted peanuts

I’m usually cautious when presented with a “corporate” beer. Corporate beers are kind of like Chips Ahoy Cookies: technically, they’re a cookie with small lumps of chocolate, and they’ll do in a pinch when your sweet tooth demands satisfaction. But craft beers and microbeers are like a hot Mrs. Fields chocolate chip cookie: a divine experience…a confectionary nirvana.

Shock Top is a product of the King of Corporate Beers, Anheuser-Busch, so  with a touch of trepidation I flipped off the bottle cap and poured my first glass. The beer pours slightly hazy with a soft lemony color. So far so good. The packaging describes it as containing coriander, orange, lemon, and lime peel with wheat. At first sip, I didn’t taste much of these and, well, it tasted pretty much like most corporate beers. Then I cut a wedge of fresh orange, squeezed it in the glass, and poof! The beer came to life! Orange juice is to Shock Top what that ol’ top hat was to Frosty the Snowman: the one element that brings it to life. But I digress.

Orange added, Shock Top has a delightful, citrus taste that is refreshing with a nice, tart aftertaste. It’s clean and not filling, making it another fine beer for a sweltering summer day. Like Corona, it’s an uneventful beer without an added squeeze of citrus. Really, you can look at that as a plus…there are far worse ways to get your vitamin C!

May 10, 2011

Mothership Wit

Filed under: Ale,American,Wheat — hikingsandiego @ 9:05 pm
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Mothership WitDate: April 30, 2011
Cost: $7.99/6-pack at Vons
Brewery: New Belgium Brewery, Fort Collins, Colorado
Alcohol content: 4.8%
Served: Cold in a chilled glass

The two macho guys in line ahead of me at Vons were quick to inform me that they didn’t like Mothership Wit. Being a fan of New Belgium’s Ranger IPA, I said I was willing to give it a chance (they agreed with me on the merits of Ranger). I’m glad I did. Mothership Wit is light in color and nicely light in taste. I found its flavor smooth and refreshing: a perfect beer for a summer picnic or hot evening sitting on the porch swing, wiping sweat off your brow. The label describes it as an “organic wheat beer brewed with spices,” but I swear I could taste a little citrus.

I’m becoming a fan of New Belgium’s; I like their environmentally conscious, employee-owned company culture, and I really enjoy their beers. I’m eager to try more of their products.

And the moral of this story is, don’t listen to guys in the checkout line. Try the beer for yourself!

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