Sunday, April 15, 2012

Harpoon Catamount Maple Wheat

Catamount Brewing Company was one of the first microbreweries in New England but due to lack of marketing and a large deficit from it's newly developed facility in Windsor, VT, the Brewery was forced to close in 2000. That summer the Boston brewing company, Harpoon, acquired the facility from a local bank as part of their expansion. They continue to brew  special batches under the Catamount label as part of their 100 Barrel Series. The Maple Wheat caught my eyes at Hannaford, and Kristine and I were able to split it before heading out for my birthday celebration.

Alcohol Content: 6.8%
IBU: 21
Malts: 2-Row Pale, Wheat, Caramel
Hops: Willamette
Adjuncts: Vermont Maple Syrup from Baker Farm & Scrag Mountain Sugar House

Price: $6.00/ 22oz bomber
Medium: Shared in two pint glasses

Aroma: My first impression was a mix of spices similar to nutmeg or allspice. I realized this to be more of  a sweet & spicy alcohol warmth more than anything else. Maple syrup adds to the sweet caramel malts while the hop aroma is almost undetectable. Mostly warm and pleasantly sweet aromas.
Appearance: After achieving almost no head with a tilted pour, I quickly switched to a straight pour for agitation. Surprisingly, the beer then held a tan head for the entire session. Light to medium-amber in color with bright clarity - most likely filtered.
Flavor: Spice notes upfront with a bit of tartness, perhaps from a citric character of wheat. The maple syrup sweetness gains momentum in the middle and finishes stronger, lingering into the aftertaste. Alcohol flavors dominate any hop flavors but the malts are able to hold up. Bitterness does not quite balance out the malts and alcohol, not to say in a bad or unpleasant manner.
Mouthfeel: Moderate body and carbonation with a sense of fullness form the maple and wheat. The alcohol is fairly noticeable and creates for a spicy warmth. This is the first beer I perceived the alcohol warmth to be sweet also - differs from malt sweetness. 
Overall Impression: I'm curious to see how this compares to a "sap beer". Fiddlehead brewing company is having a fundraiser with a sap beer that uses 700 gallons of the last sap runnings in the brew kettle. On the other hand I'm not sure where the maple syrup comes in during the brewing process for the Catamount. I wouldn't drink more than one 22oz bomber at a time but its great for a specialty brew day.

1 comment: