Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Drop-In Sunshine and Hoppiness

I got a chance to try Sunshine and Hoppiness about 6 weeks ago at a small brewer's festival before sampling it again while dropping in to the new brewery in Middlebury, VT. I believe this Belgian-style pale ale is one of the first if not the first beer to be released. Regardless, the staff there said it was definitely a great seller. This belgian-style ale is straightforward, palatable, and an overall great experience.

Alcohol Content:

Price: $5/ "Squealer" (32oz growler) +deposit
Medium: Sampled at the brewery and in 16oz glass on day 2

Aroma: A distinguishably tart, fruity ester underlies spicy phenols, both of which are yeast derived. I don't recall the intensity of the yeast-derived character as being strong at the brewery (in the smaller sample), but the growler I brought home showed more interesting signs of a Weizen-like strain. I was getting all sorts of spicy phenols, clove, even some banana and bubblegum. A bouquet of floral hops mingle with the esters and phenols. Subtle malt sweetness of warm bread and/ or biscuits supports.
Appearance: A rocky white foam persists with effervescent carbonation after sitting in the growler for 2 days unopened. Lacing is wet. A brilliant (superb clarity) golden amber color is perceived in the pint glass while the same beer looks more yellow or pale in the smaller sample glass. My guess is this beer was filtered.
Flavor: Malts are biscuity/ bready and are cleaned up by a smooth, floral hop bitterness. I found the bitterness to be quite appropriate for the style and compatible with the yeast-derived flavors: spicy phenols, clove, and to a lesser degree banana, bubblegum. Finish is crisp, in part from the bitterness but also a moderately dry finish from fermentation. Yeast character remains a dominant role well into the aftertaste, of which I started to pick up more on the clove, banana, and hints of bubblegum. These are not typical of Belgian ales.
Mouthfeel: Despite the effervescent bubbling and great clarity, the beer did not retain its carbonation as well in the growler. The bubbles were also large and fell out of solution quickly as the beer warmed. This makes the beer seem more watery, flat, and throws off the balance of the beer by allowing more malt character (I write comparatively to the fresh sample at the brewery).
Overall Impression: The yeast character strangely resembled a German Weizen strain but Belgian-style beers are also fairly new for me. Even after just 2 days in a growler it is remarkable how a beer's character is affected, namely balance. The mouthfeel changes the most and gives insights into completely new perceptions of malts, hops, water profile, etc. This is something to be wary of when holding on to growlers after purchasing. There wasn't much of a "pop" to it when I opened, indicative of poor sealing as well.

No comments:

Post a Comment