Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Oarsman Ale (2012)

I first tasted this beer back in early 2011 and thought it was terrible. Little did I know that this beer was intended to be as such and I was uneducated in the style of Berliner-weiss beer. However, thanks to Mr. John Borr (New Holland's most recent hire into the brewery staff) for bringing me a couple bottles of this beer to help me re-evaluate my palate towards this style. Tasted Labor day weekend after a relaxing couple of day camping, drinking and pounding some miles (Hope XC meet) with Brandon, Eric and Hank.
Snifter served
4.0% ABV

Appearance: Glowing golden yellow with an ever so slight haze running throughout. The head is minimal, but still sets itself as a thin film across the surface of the glass, with accumulations on the side. Carbonation is visible as frequent bubbles race to the surface.
Aroma: Sour and a bit minerally are the primary sensations I perceived at the nose. Some lactic bacteria, accompanied with a subtle hint of citrus and lemongrass. Otherwise, there really isn't too much happening in the aroma.
Taste: Very interesting flavor now that I know exactly what type of beer this really is. Initially I can pick up a faint wheat based undertones, though this is nearly immediately offset by the burst of lactic sourness provided on the second half. Some spice and citrus is present, similar to what I noted in the aroma, but more on the lemon citrus side now. Interestingly too, I find myself experiencing more of a sulfur flavor as the beer begins to warm up, either a result of lactic fermentation, Calcium Sulfide, and/or DMS (though less of the latter). Finishing is rounded, refreshing and reminiscent of that lemongrass/zest bite in the aftertaste. Truly peculiar.
Mouthfeel: Quite a bit watery for me! This is a beer where body almost doesn't exist. The acidity is high and the mouthfeel is mildly tart, but whelmingly crisp and refreshing. Carbonation bubbles help to amp up the feel a bit more, but encourage a quench in the back of the mouth as the bite the surface of the tongue. Palate is left very dry, but with an gluttonous feeling at the roof of the mouth.
Overall Impression: Certainly in a category of its own, and one I have very little experience tasting. I dig the low ABV, but it also explains a lot about the bod and texture of this beer. Sour mashed? From what I've learned tasting this beer, and others like it (think: Festina Peche) I'm going to continue to make an effort to find alternative comparisons by which to learn from. Until then, I lack a sufficient palate to truly acknowledge whether or not this is a great beer. Nevertheless, if you enjoy what you read, by all means seek this one out.

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