Living in New York City has many disadvantages. It’s crowded. It’s overpriced. It’s disgustingly hot in the summer. There is a vague smell about the place. Lots of little things that can drive a person crazy. However, there is one huge advantage to living here in the Big Apple. If you want to make splash, if you want to make it big, you gotta come here. After all, it’s a concrete jungle where dreams are made of.* Thus, last night, with the annual limited release of the Founders 2010 Nemesis wheatwine, I knew I would be able to track it down somewhere near the bright lights of Broadway. Trust me, I am glad that I did. Unlike my old nemesis Lord Mashtun Copperpot, this is a Nemesis you definitely want around.
*Yes, I am aware that this makes little to no sense. Blame Jay-Z.
We’ve discussed Founders Brewing Company on this website before. It’s a favorite of ours for the simple reason that, well, they make really, really good beer. I’m not talking about merely a great IPA or a nice stout; when I see their distinctive tap at a bar, I simply say, “Give me the Founders.” Whether it’s the Centennial IPA, the Dirty Bastard, the Red’s Rye P.A., the KBS — they are all awesome. I will freely admit that I have rarely met a beer I didn’t like, however when it comes to Founders, I have never met a beer I didn’t love. When I heard about their Nemesis project, I knew I had to try it.
Founders brews their Nemesis wheatwine in an extremely limited batch, once a year. Much like Three Floyds’ “Dark Lord Day,” Founders has its own release day for the Nemesis, where bars across the country all tap their extremely limited quantity of the beer. This year, Founders had marked September 1 as the release day for the Nemesis. On the entire island of Manhattan, I found only 4 bars that had any Nemesis at all, and each of those bars (I believe) had but one keg of it. Thus, it was with great anticipation that I tucked into an 8 oz. glass of the wheat wine at Rattle -n- Hum, on 33rd street in Midtown Manhattan.
The beer was poured into an 8 oz. goblet and came out looking dark with limited light shining through, almost like a porter. It had about half an inch of a tan head which was thick, but disappeared relatively quickly (within a minute or two). The smell of the beer was incredible: a huge grapefruity hop smell with some malty carmel goodness mixed in. Even though the beer is 12% abv, there wasn’t much of an alcohol smell to the beer. The taste started with an immediate hoppiness on the front, but quickly it turns into a nice malt smoothness. There is a small alcohol burn taste to it, but at that level of abv it would be nearly impossible to completely mask that flavor. Plus, it’s a wheatwine, and it’s supposed to warm the belly a little bit. In terms of mouthfeel, I found it a little on the thinner side, but with a stickiness that can definitely coat the mouth. The beer is wonderfully, dangerously drinkable. I could’ve easily had a couple of these, but I decided I needed to remain upright and downgraded the abv to a Double IPA.
So, there you have it. All in all, this is definitely a 4 Hop beer, and easily the best wheatwine I’ve ever had. If you are thirsty — if no other beer can quench your thirst — and if you can find it — maybe you can drink: the Nemesis.