Nose: Malty, floral, fruity
Mouth: Malty, fizzy, very slightly hoppy, tangy, BLUEBERRY
I am not a big fan of fruity beers at all. They often end up far too sweet or sour and you don’t really feel like you are drinking a beer as much as you are drinking a wine cooler or other malted beverage or even just a soda. Some even taste very medicinal like some Cherry Ales that will remain nameless. So the fact that I’m even talking about this let alone drinking it is pretty important.
I found this beer stuck in the corner of the microbrew section at a booze store around the corner. It was parked right next to the Bar Harbor Real Ale (which I will have to discuss at some point!) and I was pondering it because I never heard of a Blueberry Ale before. But, I like blueberries so I wondered. Then this elderly dude walks up next to me and says “Whatcha lookin’ at, son? Anything good?” I pointed up to the corner and said “I’m wonderin’ if that’s worth a try?” Now I saw this guy here before and he remembered me too. He says to me “Sure as hell is! Only one sixer left though. I’ll FIGHT ya for it!” I said I never had it before but if you want it that bad, go for it. So he tells me to take it. I asked him what if I don’t like it? Then you missed out on one of your favorites over me and I’m out twelve bucks. He told me “You take it. Next time I see you, if you don’t like, I’ll give you twelve bucks.”
I’m still twelve dollars short.
I couldn’t believe this beer! When you first crack open the bottle, you get the earthy, slightly fruity, slightly floral scent of the Target and Willamette hops. They are used sparingly though ’cause once that whiff is gone, you don’t pick it up again until the after taste. The nose is very malty though with hints of wheat with lots of blueberry. It’s very odd to get such a strong wheat aroma though. Even Heefeweizens won’t have a heavy wheat smell. There are three different kinds of Mutton malts used to make this though, pale, Munich and crystal. It’s combined with wheat and all of it makes for a strong ale that is light in body but medium in appearance like an unfiltered Hefeweizen.
All that malt and that sparing hops does nothing but compliment the blueberries and boy are they present! They use wild Maine blueberries in the brewing process. Unlike farm raised blueberries, wild ones are usually fairly tart and small so they pack a BIG flavor punch. I really think the reason that there are so few hops in this brew and it’s loaded with malts is that the sour levels would be off the charts combined with those tart and tangy blueberries. The way it is now with the malts and slight hops, it accentuates the tart just slightly with hops and the sweetness of the malts balances out that tart and sour perfectly.
Now once you pour this, it’s going to get a big head, real fast so pour it slow and down the side of the glass. Then, take a few whiffs and drink it in with your nose first. That’s your hops and blueberries and that’s all you’re gettin’ of the hops! Take a sip if you want but you really have to let this just sit a few minutes. So come back in 5 minutes. Now take a whiff. It’s changed. It’s malty and that blueberry is there. You know what it reminds me of? Blueberry muffins. Now take a sip. If you did before, great but notice the difference. It’s creamy and smooth with good malty heartiness. Has a slight tingle from the carbonation. The blueberries are still there too. It finishes malty with a kiss of blueberries. The after taste is tart as well but…the blueberries are gone! The aftertaste has definitive hoppiness to it. It’s malty too. It honestly reminds me of eating a piece of blueberry pie.
This fruity beer is like no other fruity beer I have ever had. You know it’s a beer. It’s also a strong beer. It’s so creamy and smooth though that it’s easy to run through half a 6 pack before you realize you’re kinda woozie. As a fruit beer, this deserves a 10 out 10. As an ale, I think the fruit detracts from it a bit. That and I have always felt that fruits are added to mask something. Now if the hops tasted like blueberries, I’d be very impressed! But alas this gets it’s blueberry from actual blueberries. So I have to be a tad bit of a snob myself and deduct a point on principle alone. I doubt the blueberries are a band-aid in this brew because Atlantic Brewing Company is a bit of a hidden gem. Since they are New Englanders from Maine, they probably like it that way too.
The only other knock I have for this is that quality control suffers. Mainly because most of these brews seem to be bottle conditioned and they don’t like sitting around long at all. I’ve gone through 4 brews in a sixer and had the last two end up so skunky it makes your eyes water. I’ve also Gotten a sixer, had the first two seriously skunky and the last 4 were perfectly fine. Now that’s great because it means there are no preservatives in this beer whatsoever. Means the beer is unadulterated. However, at twelve bucks a sixer, you don’t like having to pitch a bottle you just bought. It’s like pouring $2 down the drain. So watch the brews. If the bottle has lots of dust on it or you can find and check a bottling date, it’s probably 2 months old or more if it has dust. I wouldn’t mess with this then and wait for the new stock to come in.
Otherwise, this is a stellar brew and I usually have to hide it from company because it’s the first thing they go after and I won’t have any for myself! As far as fruity beers go, this is top of the heap. No other fruity beer has ever impressed me like this. I know the few stores in the area to get this and every time I head to them, I always check for Blueberry Ale and provided it hasn’t been sitting around a while, I snap it right up and spend the twelve bucks ’cause it can be a gamble but it’s soooo worth it!