80 Acre Hoppy Wheat Beer

Image

Image courtesy of Boulevard Brewing Company.

A wheat beer/IPA hybrid, sounds like a good idea to me.  Hazy yellow with lively carbonation 80 Acre Hoppy Wheat Beer (from the genius brewers of Boulevard Brewing Co., Kansas City, MO) floats a frothy, meringue-like head and presents itself as a picture perfect specimen.  The first impression in the nose is floral and piney, and subsequent impressions is more wheat beer specific with lemon and tartness.  80 Acre is sharp and lively on the tongue with a lemon zest zing in the finish.  The bit of sweetness on the tongue is quickly erased by a drying bitterness, but not an overly powerful one.  That’s just the IPA talking.  This is a really nice beer, and will be even better in the summer!  For anyone who likes a summer shandy, dump that lemonade and try one of these!

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Boulevard Unfiltered Wheat Beer

Image courtesy of Boulevard Brewing Company

Image courtesy of Boulevard Brewing Company

Unfiltered, cloudy and medium gold, Boulevard Unfiltered Wheat Beer sure knows how to show off.  Look at that huge head and vigorous carbonation!  It collapses into a 1/4″ thick, spotty and lacey mass, and looks really tempting.  Sweet grain is the first thing you’ll notice in the nose, followed by a light lemon scent and a bit of yeast.  Boulevard Unfiltered Wheat Beer is light-bodied but full of flavor:  Grainy, malty and somewhat lemony with a dry, but not bitter finish.  By now, the head has dissipated and the initially well-defined lacing patterns have slid completely into the beer.  I’d call this one a decent beer, very much hot weather friendly.

70/100 wheat beer

Stinger Wild Honey-Wheat

Stinger, from Estes Park Brewery, Estes Park, CO, is a wheat ale brewed with clover honey, and brewed at 7522 feet no less.  I didn’t know you could boil water at that altitude.  Stinger pours medium gold with lots of carbonation and minimal head.  The bouquet has some sweetness to it , along with a papery quality, and maybe a touch of sulphur.  That might be on me:  it came from Estes Park in the trunk of a car on a 2-day journey, although I did try to keep it cool at least.  The mouthfeel is thin but smooth, and all-in-all it feels pretty drinkable.  The sweetness is evident, but not cloyingly so.  There even seems to be the lightest hint of orange as well.  Stinger is an OK wheat beer, nothing to write home about, but pleasant enough.  The Estes Park Brewery itself seems a bit run down (and this is pre-flood, last month).  I get the feeling it was more relevant in the earlier days of the craft beer revolution, but I’m thinking time (and MANY newer nearby breweries) has passed it by.  I’ve read plenty of reviews of Stinger and most of them are more kind than this one, but judge for yourself.  I just like to point you toward the path that I think is worth taking, but am often on that path alone.  And I’m OK with that.

Stinger…Well, at least it’s not Stinker.

58/100 wheat beer

Sundown Wheat

Image courtesy of Marshall Brewing Company

Image courtesy of Marshall Brewing Company

This is an incomplete review, as I am doing it from memory.  It is also colored by the fact that I enjoyed this beer on the porch of a cabin that faced the Rocky Mountains in Estes Park, CO.  Sundown Wheat from Marshall Brewing Company, Tulsa OK, is a mildly flavored Belgian/American wheat beer, very drinkable and refreshing.  You can’t get it in Chicago, but if you have cousins in Oklahoma and they bring it to Colorado, where you happen to be sitting on the porch of a cabin that faces the Rocky Mountains in Estes Park, CO, you will probably be very happy and very satisfied.

good/100 Wheat Beer

Heartland Hefeweizen

Image courtesy of beermenus.com

Never let it said that I did not give credit where credit was due.  I enjoyed Heartland Hefeweizen from the Berghoff Brewery (contract brewed by Minhas Craft Brewery, Monroe, WI) despite the low expectations I had for it.  It did NOT taste like a typical Minhas creation.  In fact, it was pretty good.  Heartland Hefeweizen pours a cloudy, bright yellow with a generous head and big whiffs of banana in the opening moments.  Vigorous carbonations sends particulate matter and small yeast clumps on random paths throughout the glass.  The bouquet is nice, with mild spices, clove and even a bit of Sweetheart soap present, but in a good, clean, fresh way. It’s pretty tasty too, with some lemon zest on the good side and some rust on the not-as-good side, but overall a pleasing experience.  Heartland Hefeweizen would be good served with a shot of fruit syrup (I’m picturing blueberry or raspberry), or even a couple of berries floating in the head.  A good summer beer with a sessionable 4.7% ABV, and a 70+/100 American Wheat Beer in my books.

312: Urban Wheat Ale

When I was a lad, 312 was the only area code and Old Chicago was the only beer associated with Chicago.  Well now Peter Hand is long gone, 773 and 872 are in use and Chicago is producer of many fine brews.  Goose Island was at the forefront of the Chicago brewing renaissance in the late 1980s and has continued to produce above average beers, even as their output increases annually.  312 Urban Wheat Ale is one of my favorites in the Goose Island repetoir, and certainly not a provincial offering.  This cloudy, straw yellow wheat ale has plenty of carbonation and holds its head high, with plenty of lacing to boot.  The bouquet is sweet, with a hint of lemon and light malt, and just the lightest touch of spicy peppercorn.  The texture is a bit more substantial than a typical wheat beer, being both smooth and sweet, with a dry hoppy finish.  The spicyness is again noticed at the end.  It’s a very drinkable American wheat beer, and would not be confused with its German counterpart, lacking the banana/clove esters.  I highly recommend 312, even to those who are not big fans of traditional wheat beers.  There’s a lot more to this one, and if you are fortunate enough to find it on tap, all the better!