- Mike Riedel
There are quite a few Irish style or themed beers out this week to help us all celebrate Saint Patrick's Day. I got to try a handful of them, and decided to go with the one that I felt was the best example of its style and most drinkable. The other beer is much more of an American-style ale that is the antithesis of a Saint Paddy's slammer.
Bewilder - Irish Lager: It looks like a yellow daisy with a pillowy pearl-white head. This lager reminds me more of tropical sunshine and white sand beaches than it does Ireland's mossy hills and rocky shores. Still, it looks unarguably appealing, despite its non-trendy clarity, not to mention the astonishing adhesiveness of this foam. A deep maltiness exhumes notes of fresh harvested cereal grains and crisp straw, with a generous sprinkling of green, leafy hops. I'd be far more likely to associate this with Germany; it has all the components of a nice Munich Helles.
The lack of adjuncts pays big dividends, at least as far as well attuned palates are concerned. Not only does this not have any hint of corn, adjuncts or artificial taste, but it does have the honest, natural flavor of malted barley, just clean and vivid.
Overall: Nothing about the mouthfeel of this 5.0 percent lager wows me; then again, it's not expected to. This gets the 28 IBUs (I'm guessing) to a highly quaffable refreshing level. It may not be as fun as a nitro stout or a green pilsner, but your tongue will have a blast.
Proper - Brunch Beer: This is not a beer that screams, "erin go bragh." It is eye-catching, though, pouring a cloudy golden yellow color that takes on more of a dark golden hue when held to the light. It had one finger worth of white head that quickly faded to a thin ring. The aroma starts off with a higher amount of medium sweetness, followed by the wheat, which imparts a nice and noticeable wheat aroma with some bready and sweet malts showing up in the background. Up next comes a light spicy aroma with a coriander-like spiciness, followed by the grapefruit, which has a nice natural citrus perfume.
The taste seems to be pretty similar to the aroma, and it starts off with a medium amount of sweetness, followed by the wheat still being the first to show up. It imparts the same aspects that were found in the nose. Up next comes some noticeable doughy yeast and hardly any spices, with some grapefruit flavors showing up, but they might be even lighter than it was in the aroma. On the finish comes a very light amount of medium bitterness that is unique, and must be from the grapefruit, since it doesn't have that sharpness that I expect from hops. It had a very wheat-like aftertaste, with just a little grapefruit coming through. It's smooth, clean, crisp and refreshing on the palate for 5.0 percent ABV—on the high side of being light-bodied, with a medium amount of carbonation. The mouthfeel was nice, and it worked well with this beer.
Overall: I thought this was a decent beer, and pretty close to being a good example of the style. The wheat base showed up nicely, but I was left wanting a little more grapefruit. I really like grapefruit, though, so if you're less enthusiastic about it, then it will be spot-on.
Many consider Saint Patrick's Day to be amateur hour as far as drinking goes. Maybe it is—or maybe you haven't quite found the right craft beverage to pair with the good company you keep. I hope one of these traditional and non-traditional offerings treat you well. As always, slainte!