Saturday, February 14, 2009

A Trio of Wheats

...Going through a bit of a Wheat phase at the moment... I'm not sure why, maybe it's a purge from all that heaviness over Christmas. So, in keeping with this, I decided to have an afternoon sampling all the Wheats I had sitting in the cellar.

First up, Little Valley's Hebden's Wheat. A regional brewery I'm really getting into recently: head brewer Wim Van Der Spek seems to have a canny knack for taking traditional styles and twisting them around a bit; making the ordinary seem a little more eccentric. Bottle conditioned, organic Hebden Wheat is a bright, straw colour with a fair bit of haze - as you'd expect. A quick sniff gives you a really earthy, almost horse-blanket (as i beleive the term to be amongst the professionals!) aroma; but the taste is pure coriander up front, and then followed by tons of sherberty lemon. I've never tasted anything quite like it; and to be honest I quite liked it. The spirit of adventure is alive and well in Cragg Vale, it would seem. Keep up the good work. Nice website, too.

It's across the pond now; of course it is - my love for American Beers knows no bounds - Blue Moon Brewing Co's Belgian White. And one look at this label had me sold; wonderful stuff. As for the beer - well, it looked the part: hazy, creamy yellow, and a great citrus nose. However, for me, the taste did'nt quite live up to the hype; very thin body and massive citrus - that all important spice coming on way too late and nowhere near prominent enough. Oh well.

Finally, back to the UK and the ever-ready Meantime Wheat. Pouring much more golden than the previous two, this was lesson in balance: a noseful of banana, vanilla and possibly cloves, and a much more warming taste than the previous two. Taste-wise, Citrus seems to play second fiddle to the full, tasty wheat body - but still managing to be a refreshing Wheat beer.

A good afternoon of tasting, that. I might try and group together more sessions according to style!


Zak Avery said...

I've tried Blue Moon a couple of times, and find it lacking in almost every department. I'm amazed at how well it seems to have been received in the UK.

Leigh said...

yeah...i think 'disappointed' seems to be the word for me. Underwhelmed, perhaps.

Anonymous said...

It was selling like hotcakes on tap in the Rake at Borough Market a few weeks back -- mostly to CAMRA types, oddly enough, who were shouting about how surprisingly palatable it was for an American beer.

Mark Dredge said...

I was really disappointed with Blue Moon. I even tried serving it with a slice of orange and just felt stupid. I think it makes a good beer for seafood, but not much else.