I always love spending some time picking out a couple of new brewskis to try at Pilgrims Market on North 4th Street in Cd'A, where the selection of micros and imports is wild and impressive. Here are a few unusual varieties I had a chance to sample one recent Tuesday afternoon:
Mothership Wit by New Belgium (Fort Collins, CO)
Company's description: "Our first venture into organically-produced beer, Mothership Wit Organic Wheat Beer elevates the zesty Wit or White beers of Belgium. Our far-flung Beer Rangers affectionately refer to our Fort Collins brewery as the Mothership, a name that conjures images of earth shot from space and the interconnectivity of it all. Mothership Wit is brewed with wheat and barley malt, as well as coriander and orange peel spicing resulting in a balance of citrus and sour flavors held in suspension by a bright burst of carbonation."
My thoughts: I found it to be a little on the stout side for me personally, it was kind of similar to Guinness but not as rich and chocolatey, which are actually my favorite qualities about Guinness. “Organic Wheat Beer With Spices” is the tagline on the label, and I didn't really find it to be particularly s, although when I really sat and though about it, I did detect a vague hint of clove. They're definitely not referring to cayenne or anything dramatic. There's a sticker on the back of the bottle illustrating how one is supposed to pour the beer a wine glass and swirl it around just so, apparently for maximum flavor impact, but I didn’t, choosing to just take it straight out of the bottle instead. Overall, it wasn't terrible, just not exactly up my alley. Not terribly unique but still fairly tasty. Grade: C
Orange Blossom Cream Ale by Buffalo Bill’s Brewery (Hayward, CA)
Company's description: "Orange Blosson Cream Ale is a seasonal beer in the fastest growing category in the craft segment. Pour it into a glass and enjoy the wonderful fragrance of freshly peeled orange. Orange Blossom Cream Ale is brewed with sweet orange peel, orange blossom extract and honey."
My thoughts: The Orange Blossom Cream Ale is a hazy, pale golden ale with an aroma that's strong and perfumy like orange blossom and sweet orange candy and has a certain something that reminds one a bit of Tang or Orange Kool-Aid... and a slight whiff of adjuncts. It has a medium-light body that's very soft and smooth with a crisp finish. It leaves the teeth slightly gritty and at times can taste like herbal tea. It's very orange flavored. At first it seems very sweet, but it gets balanced out with a little bitterness at the finish. The malt flavor tries to stay out of the way, but it tastes a little grainy and a little corny. It's a little over the top, but it's a fun beer and it goes down with little resistance.Would be spectacular with a twist of orange slice or even topped off with orange juice, although it doesn’t really need it. It has a nice summery feeling to it and makes for some nice, orangey burps. Grade B+
Granny Smith Cider by Woodchuck Draft Cider (Middlebury, VT)
Company's description: Made from only Granny Smith Apples, this one's a lot more tart and quite a bit tangier than your average Woodchuck. If you're a green apple sort of person, this could be your Woodchuck.
My thoughts: Woodchuck Granny Smith Cider is extremely refreshing and will appeal more to people with a taste for champagnes than for beer, but it is an excellent change of pace for anyone who needs a break from the incessant barrage of mediocre (or worse) pale light lagers that are the unfortunate mainstay of most of the beer drinking world. This cider is the kind of drink that I think I'd enjoy most with a Sunday morning brunch. I like the crisp acidity of this drink much better than I like most dry champagnes, and I think this would go perfectly with a plate of fresh fruit and melon as I sit out on the patio with a cup of strong coffee and sweet rolls. It doesn't really have a lot of weight, and it certainly isn't the kind of beer a man's man would take on a hunting trip or anything, but it is quite fantastic in it's own way. Grade: A-