Monday, September 30, 2013

Lawson's Finest Liquids Maple Wheat Ale

3.8
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 15/20
Chad9976 (978) - Albany, New York, USA - SEP 30, 2013
I poured a 22oz bottle into a weizen glass. There was no freshness date. I got it from friends who made a roadtrip to Vermont (thanks, Alex and Marissa!). It cost $7 ($0.32 per ounce).

Appearance: Light orange/dark gold hue. A clear body with vigorous carbonation visible. Pours to a large, white, foamy head which mostly dissipates but leaves minor lacing.

Smell: A light, refreshing aroma of wheat, some citrus, as well as banana and spice.

Taste: I don’t know anything about Lawson’s Finest Liquids beers other than what’s on their label, so I only have limited data with which to make a hypothesis as to what they’re "going for" with their brews. In the case of the Maple Wheat Ale it seems to be a stab at the usually boring "American Pale Wheat Ale" style. It’s definitely not a traditional hefeweizen, though some of the characteristics are there. This seems to be a deliberately cleaner, more refreshing brew and in that aspect it works really well.

The label indicates that the beer is brewed with "a blend of specialty yeasts," though I’m sure the traditional Bavarian strain is one of them. It has the standard wheat beer qualities of a strong, natural and refreshing taste of banana, lemonpeel and hints of cinnamon. Not quite as overtly spicy and zesty like many German brews, this one seems to embrace its mildness and opt for a tropical fruit juice taste. I think I detect some passionfruit here as well. Unfortunately there is no maple character at all, though that’s not entirely surprising since yeast tends to gobble up all the maple syrup since it’s so high in fermentable sugar. Perhaps there’s a trace of it in the aftertaste, though it doesn’t really make that much of a difference to me since the rest of the palette is so tasty.

Drinkability: Though Maple Wheat Ale is light-bodied at only 4.2% ABV, it’s not lightly flavored per se. There’s plenty of taste while in the mouth, while also being extremely refreshing. The mouthfeel is light and crisp, but not overly fizzy or watery. It’s hard to not drink it in continuous gulps, actually. This is my idea of a perfect summer brew. 
Grade: 8/10