Saturday, June 14, 2014

Bell's Oberon Ale (2014 re-review)

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
Chad9976 (1112) - Albany, New York, USA - JUN 14, 2014
I poured a 12oz bottle into a weizen glass. It was bottled on 3/7/14 and cost $2.65 ($0.22 per ounce).

Appearance: Extremely hazy shade of gold/yellow/light orange. Pours to a small, white, frothy head which laces and retains well.

Smell: Nondescript wheaty aroma, subtle citrus or spice, though mild nose in general.

Taste: Bell’s Oberon Ale is probably one of the most popular craft beers in America, most likely due to the fact the average Blue Moon and/or Shock Top drinker will like it. Bell’s is a brewery known for making some amazing stuff, but they also make a lot of fairly average offerings as well and this is probably the most average of the average. While not a bad beer, this is a pale wheat ale epitomized. If you’re looking for something drinkable this is it; if you’re looking for something memorable, it’s not.

The palette here can be described as a mixture of three generic traits: wheat, citrus and spice. However, trying to pick up anything more specific is quite challenging. The wheat character is in the ballpark of a wheat beer, but in no way reminiscent of anything Bavarian style. There’s a slight sweetness and a slight tanginess to it. The hops aren’t particularly discernible, though there does seem to be an underlying dry spiciness. As for actual spices or seasonings like orange or lemon peel, coriander or clove – they’re not individually distinguishable. That being said, the palette as a whole is enjoyable, even if it is indeed quite mild. I’m sure Bell’s could make a much more memorable beer if they wanted, but this does what it’s supposed to do.

Drinkability: From the packaging and marketing, there’s no doubt Bell’s Oberon Ale’s selling point is its drinkability. The mouthfeel is soft, smooth, cold, wet, and refreshing – just as a summer beer should be. However, it doesn’t seem to capitalize on its 5.8% ABV body. For something almost as strong as an IPA there should be stronger, more complex flavor here. Otherwise, why not knock the weight down to something more sessionable (i.e. < 5%).
Grade: 6/10

Here's my 2010 original video review:

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