Saturday, August 21, 2010

Grimbergen: Blonde Ale

I have a new attraction: blondes. While that is an incredibly cliche intro to this post, that's the most apt way of describing my latest craze for blonde ales; an attraction. Within the past couple months, whenever I am at the liquor store or on a bar stool I find myself gravitating toward the blondes. If you dig through my 50+ prior posts I'm sure you'll see in there somewhere that I have professed my love for pale ales and amber ales. While I can't say that I have changed my preference away from hoppy American ales, I find myself more and more preferring a Belgian Blonde.

As a result of this latest crazy, my latest visit to the store resulted in the purchase of a sixer of Grimbergen Blonde Ale. Grimbergen starts with an incredible aroma of fruit, bubble gum, and touch of yeast. The most amazing and unique part of this brew is how bubbly it is. Honestly this is this might be the most carbonated bottled beer I've ever seen. As soon as I poured it into the improper glasswear, the air pockets have been racing their way to the top. I'm been drinking some of these guys pretty slow and no matter how long I let the glass sit on the table the bubbles keep screaming to the top. These bubbles also create more than just a visual effect. The carbonation cuts through the thickness of the beer pretty nicely making the beer feel lighter and easier to drink. The initial taste is kinda bready but the aftertaste clearly has a strong citrus flavor. While the citrus lingers a little long leaving almost a sour feeling on the tongue it doesn't taint the flavor of the beer and it's still dry enough to round out the flavors.

While not my favorite blonde ale ever, again this was exactly what I was in the mood for. And I guess I'm ok if that preference never changes back. Cheers.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Harpoon Brewery: Big Bohemian Pilsner

Summer just might be my favorite season. The sun feels great on the skin, plenty of baseball on the diamonds, attire is minimal, and a beer tastes mighty refreshing.

Ever summer I make the trek out to the East Coast to engage in a number of relaxing activities including soaking up sun, salt, seafood, sand, and suds. I really enjoy drinking beer in Massachusetts (irrespective of the month) because I have the opportunity to sample a few beers I can’t seem to find on the opposite coast. Over the years I have been imbibing my way through a number of quality craft beers and I have found myself enjoying a bunch of fine breweries. One such brewery is Harpoon out of Boston, Mass.

Over the years I’ve just about sampled every Harpoon, so like many microbrewers, I have to wait until this brewery comes out with a ‘limited release’ to try something new. According to the packaging, Harpoon started the Leviathan series in 2008 to roll out a number of ‘big beers’ for ‘adventurous pallates’. This summer I snagged Harpoon’s Big Bohemian Pilsner. While, I normally wouldn’t recommend an imperial pilsner in the summer heat (this beer hits 9% abv) this is still a refreshing brew. The beer starts with a classic European pilsner aroma which further encourages a big gulp. While this beer does have a strong alcohol flavor once it hits the tongue, the malt content fights with the ethanol to provide a nice balance. The pilsner has a dry finish and a few light flowery notes even though it's not that hoppy. Considering this beer is stronger than most double IPAs, it’s quite drinkable and probably can be downed by even the causal beer drinker.

While Harpoon has a number of other brews which might have cooled me down and refreshed my pallate a little more thoroughly than the Big Bohemian Pilsner (Harpoon’s UFOs come to mind) half the fun of visiting a state is trying out something new you can’t get at home. And on a hot day on the dock or at the beach, you really can’t go wrong with a Harpoon in your hand and a little more booze in your system than anticipated. Cheers.