Thursday, November 7, 2013

Bell's Oarsman Ale

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 14/20
Chad9976 (1003) - Albany, New York, USA - NOV 7, 2013
I poured a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass. It was bottled on 10/8/13 and cost $2.65 ($0.22).

Appearance: Pale banana-skin yellow hue. Quite hazy, but not completely opaque. Pours to a large, bright white, frothy head which retains and laces well.

Smell: Rather mild nose of [intentional] sour infection; hints of citrus and grass.

Taste: I always enjoy it when I see a brewery putting a lot of faith into a product you wouldn’t expect from them. Bell’s Oarsman Ale is a Berliner Weisse which means it’s light bodied and slightly soured, though it tends to be something of an acquired taste. That they’re putting out a true session beer of this style year round is quite commendable. I’m not sure how it ranks among the style, but as a beer it’s a refreshing (literally) change of pace.

This is one of the few beers of the style I can think of that’s not brewed with fruit, and is just an all-malt brew. Not that it’s particularly malty, though. There’s a light, wheaty, slightly zesty taste throughout the entire first half. Subtle lemon and other citrus notes can be detected. The finish is essentially the same, but with a significant, but restrained, tart sensation. It’s not to the point of other sour beers where it tastes like liquid candy, but rather just a nice zingy sensation on the palate. I’d probably prefer more flavor or more sourness, but for it is it’s pretty good and would make an ideal starter sour for newbies.

Drinkability: I feel like I’m not doing this beer justice by drinking it in the fall. This is the kind of beer I’d want a six-pack of in July. The mouthfeel is thin and crisp and the beer itself is very refreshing on the tongue. It finishes almost completely clean, with just a touch of lemon flavor. At only 4% ABV everyone can agree this is not just a sessionable beer, but a session beer per se. Now, if it only came in cans instead of (or in addition to) bottles. 
Grade: 7/10

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