Saturday, August 9, 2008

Harpoon UFO Hefeweizen

3.1
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 12/20
Chad9976 (735) - Albany, New York, USA - FEB 28, 2010
The hefeweizen style is inherently European, but American breweries don’t let that stop them from taking a crack at it. I’ve tried many different hefs from different brewers and I’m amazed at the differences between them, some being good, some being excellent and others being outstanding.

It’s unfortunate Harpoon’s UFO Hefeweizen falls at the low end of the spectrum. I’m not sure this even qualifies as a true hefeweizen because it tastes nothing like the others I’ve tried. It’s more like a Kolsch, perhaps there was a mix-up in the company’s marketing department.

POUR, COLOR AND AROMA

I’ve noticed the difference between average and great hefeweizens has a lot to do with their pour. The high-end hefs pour smoothly and seem heavier than low-end ones, like Harpoon UFO. This beer pours much like an American mass market light beer with a very blonde appearance that’s cloudy, but contains no sediments.

Even the aroma is unimpressive by virtue of the fact there isn’t much of an aroma at all. Hefeweizens traditionally have a sweet, fruity, citrusy scent, but this beer is virtually scent-free with only the minimal trace of a sweet smell.

TASTE AND FINISH

Bad beers tends to smell bad, good beers tend to smell good, so what about beers that don’t have a smell at all? Well, if Harpoon UFO Hefeweizen is any example they don’t have much of a taste either.

Much like a traditional German Kolsch, this beer is extremely flat in taste. There are absolutely no hints of fruit or clove to the palate, nor hops, nor malts, nor barley or any other traditional beer ingredients. I found Harpoon’s India Pale Ale to have a surprisingly salty taste, so I wasn’t surprised that this beer also seemed to be a bit high in sodium. It’s barely noticeable, though, but it’s pretty much the only flavor you can detect at all.

At least the beer is extremely smooth and easy to drink. It does seem to have a last-ditch bite to it as you finish a big gulp, but even this is still quite weak.

BODY

How ironic would it be if this beer that has virtually no flavor and no bite would turn out to be heavy in body? Thankfully this is not the case since UFO Hefeweizen is as light in body as it is in taste. Considering how bland the taste is and how clean the finish is, you could easily drink several of these in a row without being remotely full.

FINAL THOUGHTS

As many flaws as I have with Harpoon’s UFO Hefeweizen, I have to admit that it’s an average beer both at best and at worst. It’s easy to drink and light in body, but it just doesn’t satisfy. I would expect this from a bigger brewery, but for a mid-level company that deals in craft brews, it’s surprisingly disappointing. 
Grade: 5/10