This is a beer you can find in most liquor stores (I found this in a grocery store in the Northeast Kingdom of VT) and you may just brush it off and look for something more exotic. That, in my humble opinion, is a mistake.
After trying Hopslam and Two Hearted Ale, I've become a huge fan of Bell's Brewery. Unfortunately, they don't distribute to MA so it's a bit of a fine art trying to get a bottle (or mini keg) into the state. Imagine my surprise when I perused the beer case at a package store in FL (on vacation) and saw a six pack of Bell's Oberon sitting there, waiting for me.
We opened it tonight and it was juuuuuuust fine. Here’s our review (Shannon, Aaron, Jim):I was really worried about this beer. It’s a growler of Hill Farmstead Ephraim (a triple/double IPA) that’s been in my fridge for over a month. I was told it would be good for two weeks, but beyond that was questionable. So I had questions.
It’s not all wine and roses in the world of craft beer. Or in this case I should say “craft” beer.
I was recently in Target (owing to a lack of options in the vicinity), confronted with a wall of macro brews searching for something, anything interesting to blog about. This beer, Blue Dawg (how did I not see through that name? I mean, who names their brewery that?!) Wild Blue, purports to be a blueberry lager. On the strength of enjoying Dark Horse’s “Tres” Blueberry Stout recently (Jim’s review here and mine here), I was feeling charitable towards the much-maligned fruit beers.
Not much point in beating around the bush: this beer is absolutely vile.
Cloyingly sweet blueberry syrup mixed with the most forgettable lager you can imagine. The (after you try one of these palette-grenades) hilarious Anheuser-Busch press release (yes, it’s a Budweiser product masquerading as a craft beer presumably to undermine the good name of micro-breweries) trumpeting the arrival into the world of this affront to fruit and grain even includes a recipe for Wild Blue Vinaigrette Dressing (presumably to serve to house guests who’ve overstayed their welcome).
Drinkability: Can’t even be charted. Half a glass and I couldn’t choke any more down. Avoid, avoid, avoid.
I REALLY wanted to like this beer. I’ve been following the Notch “project” for almost a year, wondering what it tasted like, wondering if it could be good. When I saw six packs in my local store I just had to give it a try.
I came across this bottle on a recent trip to Redstone Liquors. I’m a sucker for a good label, and this is one featuring a red lion rampant and the name of one of my favorite breweries. I’m a big fan of Belhaven’s flagship offering, their Scottish Ale, so I made a leap of faith in trying this, their Wee Heavy Scotch Ale, a type of beer I’m not that familiar with.
It pours a dense caramel color with a moderate head that disappeared fairly quickly. Not much lacing on the glass. The beer smells of molasses, malts and a slight campfire smokiness. The smokiness is far more subtle than the Rauchbier I tried recently (that was smokey!), but it’s definitely there.
This is a far sweeter beer than I’m accustomed to drinking. Taste is one of rum raisins, roasted malts, and I think I’m picking up some candied sugar and vanilla in there (though these last two are very faint). Not a lot of hops are evident. A creamy medium mouth feel, with light to moderate carbonation. Very smooth drinking but a bit sweeter than I generally prefer.
A quick word on temperature: One thing I’ve learned over the past couple of years of paying closer attention to craft beer is that temperature can really affect the taste of beers, and this one is definitely subject to that rule of thumb. The Wee Heavy definitely benefits from warming up a bit out of the fridge. I started drinking it at about 45 degrees, but allowed it to warm to closer to 50 and it really opened up nicely. In my opinion though, you won’t want this at room temperature; I think there’s a very narrow temperature range at which this beer will be best. It can’t be too cold, but it definitely benefits from having a chill. 48-50F is probably optimal.
I don’t have a great deal of experience with Scotch ales, but this is pretty good, best suited for a cold night as an after-dinner beer. You’re probably not going to want more than one of these in a sitting, but it’d be a nice beer to cellar for next Christmas, enjoyed sitting around the fire after dinner.
Taste: B (but again, this is not an everyday beer)
Drinkability: B (you probably wouldn’t want more than one and only under the right circumstances). This is a sipping beer.
Vitals: 6.50% ABV, 1 Pint, 0.9 oz bottle served at about 49 degrees F for optimal taste.