Friday, May 15, 2009

Beer Of The Week (Vol VIII)

[ Volume Ocho in the recently expanded beer tasting series. Once again, today's post is made possible by the fine folks at Glen Lake Wine and Spirits. That establishment has generously agreed to provide beer for weekly reviews and every brew featured here is available at Glen Lake Wine and Spirits. These reviews will be an expansion of the beer rating that I've been doing for years and will be more in-depth look at particular beers using the same rating criteria. And in addition to the just the beer itself, I'll be examining the whole aesthetic package; the bottle, the label, the name. ]

I enjoying razing the state of Michigan as much as the next guy. For their overrated hockey teams, their pathetic NFL team, and the bizarre culture and language of the strange creatures who inhabit the Upper Peninsula (better known as Upers). But I have to give Michigan credit where it's due: the state is home to what is perhaps the finest craft brewery in America. I speak of course of Bell's in Kalamazoo.

While I had already begin to appreciate the virtues of beer with taste some years ago, Bell's Pale Ale was the beer that really opened my eyes to the joys that the world of craft brewing could hold. The unfiltered beer with the monk ringing the bell was an unapologetic offering of intense taste and smell. It was a beer that you didn't just drink, you savored every sip. If you held it up to the light, you could see chunks floating in it. And that was good.

Since then, many a Bell's has passed my lips and almost without exception they have been better than your average beer (Hey, Boo-Boo!). In fact, I've rated fourteen of Larry Bell's offerings over the years from Amber Ale to Winter Wheat Ale.

This week, I'm going to back to review a beer that I've already previously rated. Last time around, Bell's Oberon Ale came in with a thirteen. This time, I was even more impressed.

Here comes the sunThe bottle is brown and non-descript. The label has a splashy, colorful image of the sun against an orange background.

Beer Style: Wheat Ale

Alcohol by Volume: 5.8%

COLOR (0-2): Cloudy and golden 2

AROMA (0-2): Fruity with overtones of sweetness 2

HEAD (0-2): Rich and full 2

TASTE (0-5): Refreshing wheat flavor with citrus hints. 4

AFTERTASTE (0-2): Lingering pleasure. 2

OVERALL (0-6): A truly sublime summer offering that combines the best flavors of a wheat with the mellow hops of an easy drinking ale. 4

TOTAL SCORE (0-19): 16 Like summer itself, you're advised to enjoy this beer while you can because it will be gone before you know it.

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