Stats: Belgian Wheat Beer. 4.2% ABV. 15 IBUs. St Thomas, Ontario.
Size: 473mL can
Colour: Pale (very pale) off-‘yellow’ watery straw; faintly cloudy.
Mouth Feel: Low-medium carbonation with a dry finish.
Pairing Notes: Greek Food (e.g. Souvlaki)
→ 78 points
So, the next surprise in my Getting Canned series of beers only coming in cans is also the final taster from Howard, who officially now my Southern Ontario beer sleuth. Thank you, Howard.
I have to admit, I really thought I was going to hate this beer once I poured it — but to be fair, I had no real idea of what I was going to pour because while this beer has an incredibly interesting and creative label, it bears no mention of the beer’s lineage. Sample the beer, however, and the clues quickly added up:
- Very pale pour
- Yeasty aroma
- Spices (coriander) off the nose and the tongue
- Orange peel — again, off the nose and the tongue
- Slight sourness
- Crisp finish
I knew in an instant it was a wheat beer. And when I detected the orange, I was pretty sure it was a Belgian wheat. Once I read the ingredients list on the label and everything was quickly confirmed.
So, as I’ve made clear in the past, wheat beers are pretty low on my list of beers I enjoy. As such, I’m not likely the best person to review them honestly. Still, I’ve had some I’ve quite liked, I’ll admit, including a few recently like Oranje Weisse or White Bark. And in the process, my heart and palette has softened to the style and I see there is a real need for it, especially while summer clings to the turning leaves. So while I sipped this brew, I kept an open mind.
My point with wheat beers, however, is that they’re not sipping beers. I don’t think they do particularly well being dissected and analysed for their constituent parts. Wheat ales are the epitome of an occasion where you should to admire the forest … whereas winter beers or an IPA is really a time when you want to admire the trees.
Wheat beers are thin; they’re light; they have low specific gravity (often). Few are above 5% and rarely are they above 5.5%, so they’re comparatively ‘light.’ The flavour profile is also one that I would generally describe as ‘thirst quenching.’ All these facets mean that on a hot day, coming off the beach, a golf course, or mowing the lawn, there are few better libations to reach for in your fridge. And when you take the first “drink,” it isn’t a sip, it’s a quaff, which is why you will drink the ‘forest’ and not the ‘trees.’
So I’ll be fair to this beer and say that in the style of a Belgian wheat, it’s an above average even ‘good’ example and one of the better I’ve had in Ontario. Still, where it fails is in not having stronger trees in the forest of its waters. They’re lean, willowy, and they blow over very easily. While it’s an infinitely approachable beer that almost any party on the deck of summer deck (floating or otherwise) can enjoy, it’s not going to win awards for blow-you-away flavour or finish. The best part of it is probably the white pepper which adds some much needed zip to this otherwise ‘flat’ beer. And at only 4.2% ABV, minimal IBUs, and a lot wheat malts (which don’t add much in the way complexity), this beer needs something more ….