Wheat wines are not a very common beer style, so I was pleased to see this offering from Boulevard at the local store. This beer is part of the Boulevard Smokestack series, an eclectic mix of high gravity beers ranging from American to Belgian styles with lot of twists and a healthy amount of experimentation. I recommend trying any you manage to get your hands on, and will review several in the coming weeks.
Like a barleywine, wheatwines are strong ales with a wheat component, as the name suggests. This beer has a great label with a bunch of wheat dancing with death, which is how nights of drinking high gravity beer should finish. The brew was aged in oak, and like most (all?) of the Smokestack series, bottle conditioned.
NOTES: Shared with the Miss at the Hordeum Ranch. From a corked and caged 750 ml bottle into a pair of Snifters
APPEARANCE: Golden color with a hint of cloudiness.
HEAD: Oh my! Like a foam snake. A solid head of fine bubbles rose to the top of the glass, and then dissipated rather quickly. I should have used this to toast the new year.
LACING: Little bits left here and there. When tipped to the side the glass holds a thin, uniform layer.
NOSE: Pleasant with some floral notes, pear, and a hint of yeast.
TASTE: Starts things off with some honey and caramel, which is balanced by strong citrus from the hops. The finish is peppery, very dry and bitter, with a typical wheat notes and grapefruit rind. This is not a sweet offering like a barleywine, and it lacks the sweet heavy toffee flavors of that style. In some ways this is more similar to a farmhouse ale.
DRINKABILITY: Very smooth, medium carbonation, the smoothness and delicate carbonation combine for an excellent mouthfeel. Move over Miller Highlife, this is really the champagne of beers. The body is fairly light for a beer this big. The alcohol is definitely there in the finish and the aftertaste. Nice and warming, which is good considering the low is 9 degrees tonight. Like grapefruit rind, this beer makes your mouth water after consuming.
RATING: Three hops
For some non-aleheads who like light wheat beers, this could be a gateway to more interesting brews. Not my favorite of the smokestack series, but unique and well worth a try.