Of the beginning brews Jen and I tasted at the River City Beer Festiv-ALE this weekend at Ribco, Rock Island. Quite a stellar Line-up with some of the greatest craft breweries in the U.S. (Pardoning: Bear Republic, Three Floyd's and Dogfish Head). Nevertheless, I did have the opportunity to try a range of other stellar beer from Rogue to Schlafly to Southern Tier. We discovered some great seasonals, (I kind of missed the fall seasonal last year due to being under 21) and had an amazing afternoon filled with meeting amazing people, making connections, and tasting great beer!
Note: Many of these will be shorter because I wanted to keep trying more!
Appearance: Golden color with white foamy ring around the glass with slight cloudiness. Head dissipates soon after. Carbonation looks extremely strong. Definitely unfiltered. White wet lacing coats the inner perimeter of the glass.
Aroma: Incredibly strong yeast and zest aroma that tickles the nostrils. Notes of other fruit as well, perhaps pear/apple. Rich phenols and other Belgian astringency's present. Very minimal malt scent.
Taste: Sweet citrus wheat tones finishing with the strong orange zest that almost permeates into a gas at the back of the throat and stings! Very interesting. I find notes of simple sugar cane and complex character thereafter on all fronts. Fruity orange/clementine at the nose and yeasty to follow. Sweet esters of apricots become more apparent as the beer warms. A drying farmhouse hop bitterness rounds out the very end.
Mouthfeel: The first thing I noticed about this beer was the carbonation. Creamy due to the micro bubbles encouraging the beers body to feel frothy throughout, like most wheat's. Overall Impression: The high alcohol at the finish truly lends something unique! Definitely something to try on a first time basis and rare occasion, but nothing to drink regularly. Drying bitterness, but equally fruity and yeast foreword. Extremely complex.