Friday, May 29, 2009

Beer Of The Week (Vol X)

Once more we hit the beach with more beers of summer, brought to you as always by the fine folks at Glen Lake Wine and Spirits. This week is a two-fer featuring a couple of surprising sources.

First up is a relatively new offering from Point Brewery in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. Point has a long history in the beer business:

The Stevens Point Brewery is steeped in a history that has transcended the trials of the Civil War, the Great Depression and Prohibition. More than 150 years later, the Stevens Point Brewery continues to successfully brew quality beer, just as the brewery's founders, Frank Wahle and George Ruder, did in 1857. This undeniable endurance is a testament of why the Stevens Point Brewery, in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, is the 5th oldest continuously operating brewery remaining in the United States. Today, the Stevens Point Brewery is proud to be Wisconsin-owned and independently operated.

Some years ago, they also had one of my favorite beer advertising slogans "Score A Few Points Tonight." While it's pretty well known here in the Upper Midwest, Point didn't really have much of a national reach until recently when they've expanded into several new markets. In the past, it wasn't really known as a real craft brewer either. But they've expanded their offering of late and now feature a variety of beer styles.

Last year, they came out with Point Nude Beach Summer Wheat.

Pretty simple brown bottle. The red-bordered label features an artists rendition of a G rated nude beach scene. The colors are faded pastels that kind of give it a Seventies vibe (shudder).

Beer Style: Wheat Ale

Alcohol by Volume: 5.0%

COLOR (0-2): Beautiful cloudy, unfiltered gold. 2

AROMA (0-2): Decent but light. 1

HEAD (0-2): Good pour, but no staying power. 1

TASTE (0-5): Wheaty with sweet and citrus touches. 3

AFTERTASTE (0-2): Fades away fast. 1

OVERALL (0-6): A better beer than I expected. It looks like a top-notch wheat beer in the glass, but falls a little short in the mouth. 3

TOTAL SCORE (0-19): 11

Next up is attempt by brewing giant Anheuser-Busch (now owned by AmBev) to try to pry their way into the craft beer market, one of the few segments of the American beer industry that's still seeing growth. Most of AB's craft beer efforts have been managed through the Michelob brand as our featured beer Beach Bum Blonde Ale is. Now, while I'm not a fan of most of the product that AB puts out, I approached Beach Bum Blonde Ale with an open and objective mind. And I still have something of a warm spot in my heart for Michelob since it was a beer that I did enjoy at one point in my past. High school to be precise.

Plain brown bottle. The label looks like a City Pages cover story on Jeff Spicoli. The goofy font and way too bright colors give it a decidely amateurish look, which I imagine is all part of AB's "craft" beer strategy.

Beer Style: Blonde Ale

Alcohol by Volume: 5.4%

COLOR (0-2): Light gold. 1

AROMA (0-2): Mild. 1

HEAD (0-2): Full and white. 2

TASTE (0-5): Malty flavors but uneven. 2

AFTERTASTE (0-2): Not much there there. 1

OVERALL (0-6): Better than most AB products, but with all the quality summer beers out there I wouldn't waste my time with this one. 2

TOTAL SCORE (0-19): 9