Posts tagged wheat
Posts tagged wheat
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Positive Contact Wheat Beer
It’s no secret I’m a fan of Dogfish Head. Just search for the brewery and you’ll find plenty of glowing reviews of their beers from me. But I will admit, the lengths Sam and the DFH folks go to to make beers can be a little intimidating at times, and the results aren’t always as good as you’d hope they would be. Nonetheless, a lot of their recent brews have been pretty awesome, with Positive Contact being one of the best.
As with most DFH beers, Positive Contact has a pretty extensive background story and list of ingredients. The beer is another entry in the brewery’s Music Series, along with Bitches Brew, Hellhound on my Ale and Faithful Ale. The brewery teamed up with Dan the Automator of Deltron 3030 (and Gorillaz) to craft a brew that the renowned producer could call his own.
What they ended up with was a 9% beer/cider hybrid brewed with wood-pressed Fuji apples; roasted farro, a type of grain; cayenne peppers; and cilantro, all of which is bottled in packs of six 22 oz. bottles, a 10-inch vinyl LP and recipes that include the beer.
Admittedly, I was iffy going into the beer. The mix of ingredients was bizarre, more so than most DHF beers. But the result was music to my mouth.
The beer pours a super clear orange color. There’s a gorgeous pillowy head that lingers for a good long while. Incredibly strong lacing and some decent alcohol legs round it out, making the beer just absolutely beautiful.
Given the laundry list of ingredients, it was surprising to find wheat the only big discernible character on the nose, although there was a good hint of apples present as well. There’s a kind of sweet bread note with a bit of a mild hop on the back, and maybe a very slight hint of cayenne and herbs, too. But overall, it smells like a straight-up wheat beer.
That all changes in the taste. It’s very smooth on the tongue and rest of the mouth with a very slight carbonation. The wheat is very present, there’s a slight earthiness and a very slight pinch of cayenne. But as it warms, the cayenne becomes much more noticeable. It doesn’t burn or anything, but gives more of a nice slight heat. The apples are there, but I got just a very slight touch of cilantro. It’s incredibly drinkable, and for 9%, you don’t taste the alcohol at all.
A lot of my friends write off Dogfish as a gimmicky brewery. To be fair, I admit that they’re a bit out there as far as breweries go. But as I’ve said before, I really do appreciate the lengths they go to and the risks they take. Lately, they’ve been on a role, and they’re showing they’re not a brewery you should be so quick to write off.
Highland Brewing Co.
Razor Wit Belgian Style Whit Ale
According to a friend of mine, Highland is the third-largest brewery in the Southeast, behind only Abita and Sweetwater in terms of production. If that’s true, it wouldn’t surprise me, as the Asheville-based brewery cranks out one awesome brew after another.
Highland’s year-round staples - Gaelic Ale, Kashmir IPA - are solid beers, but where the brewery really shines is in its seasonal releases. Little Hump is the epitome of a light, effervescent spring beer, and Cold Mountain, with its hints of marshmallow, vanilla and hazelnut, is one of the best winter seasonals out there. Their newest summer release, Razor Wit, continues that trend of unique yet wholly enjoyable brews.
Razor Wit follows the classic brewing style for a wit - wheat, noble hops, coriander and orange peel - but the brewers added a secret blend of spices that gives the beer this amazing spicy and herbal note. It’s one of the more unique - and, to be quite honest, one of the best - witbiers I’ve had.
The pour is a lush, hazy orange. About three fingers of head top it off, but that’s gone pretty quickly. The lacing is gorgeous, gripping the side of the glass and refusing to let go. But since it’s a session beer, there aren’t any alcohol legs on it.
Those spices I mentioned pop on the nose. There’s a strong black pepper note to it, but also a big herbal note to it, too. That’s backed up with a sweetness from the wheat and those characteristic orange peel and coriander notes.
The taste on Razor Wit is superb. There’s a medium body mouthfeel and sweet flavors of orange and tangerine that coat your mouth. But on the back, that gives way to a wet spice character. There’s juniper, caraway and black pepper, as well as the very prevalent coriander. The strength of the spice and herbal notes is balanced with the sweetness from the malt and thickened a bit by the yeast.
Herbal beers can be a bit of a shock to the palate, but Razor Wit balances the stronger notes with a sweetness and robustness that makes it incredibly easy to drink. I can envision sitting on the porch with a peppered steak fresh off the grill and pairing it with this, or sitting poolside with the setting sun in the distance. It’s a nice jolt to the summer seasonals, and if you’re in Highland’s distribution area, definitely one to not miss.
Bell’s Brewery, Inc.
Oberon Wheat Ale
Bell’s makes some of my favorite beer and is one of the handful of breweries I’ve tried that has yet to make a beer that disappoints. One of the first beers of theirs I tried was Oberon, their summer seasonal that is the epitome of what you’d want in a warm-weather beer.
Coming in at just more than 5%, Oberon is a wheat ale fermented with Bell’s house yeast, giving the beer that rich smoothness of a wheat beer with a slight hoppy and spicy note to it. With a heavy focus on the citrus notes and smooth grain qualities, Oberon is one of those gateway beers that newbies and seasoned beer geeks alike enjoy.
Oberon has a dank hazy deep yellow/light orange color to it. There’s a massive pillow of head on top that lingers for quite a while, imparting some really nice lacing, but no alcohol legs.
The wheat is strong on the nose. There’s a really nice bready sweetness and juicy orange notes with a very slight hint of other citrus fruits. It’s unmistakably a wheat beer.
I’ve always loved the taste of Oberon. A sweet subtle citrus taste and maltiness washes over your palate. There’s very present carbonation, but not in a biting way. It does a great job of cleansing the palate. There’s a very smooth and full mouthfeel with a sweeter juicy finish.
While there’s no one thing stands out about this beer, that’s what I like about it. It’s easy to drink, very well balanced and so well rounded. It just works so well together, and that’s what makes it one of my favorite warm weather brews.