Thursday, February 24, 2011

American Style Wheat Beers — Murray's Craft Brewing Co. vs. Widmer Brothers Brewing

Murray's Craft Brewing Co.
Whale Ale

ABV 4.5%

Cloudy, dirty orange.
Grainy with some floral notes.
Light, simple, grainy and fruity.
Hops vs. Malts
(Hoppy, Malty or Balanced):
Finish: Grain, lemon juice.
Overall (Fantastic, Good, Mediocre or Bad):

Widmer Brothers Brewing

ABV 4.9%

Cloudy and golden.
Aroma: Hay, flowers, grain and some barnyard funk.
Flavor: Crisp, acidic and grainy with a nice, smooth body.
Hops vs. Malts (Hoppy, Malty or Balanced): Balanced
Finish: Citrus acidity and mild bitterness.
Overall (Fantastic, Good, Mediocre or Bad): Good

Blow by Blow
This was the second battle that we did in Hawaii with our friends from Australia featuring one bottle from the Northwest and one from Australia. The Whale Ale described itself as an "American Style Wheat Beer" so we figured it would be appropriate to face it off with the beer that it likely was trying to imitate, Widmer Hefeweizen.

The Whale was fine, but it just really didn't do anything extraordinary. It was easy drinking with a bit of grain character and a mild lemony finish. Certainly not offensive, but nothing to write home about.

The Widmer Hefeweizen was definitely a little more interesting. It had some great floral notes in the aroma to go along with a bit of yeasty barnyard funk. The flavor was fresh, clean and a bit acidic. It even offered up a smidgen of citrus hops in the finish.

We were not all in agreement as to the winner. The Australian Gibson decided that he was not a big fan of American Style Wheat Beers and picked the Whale Ale since it had less of the "wheaty/grainy" character. His lovely wife Hayley, thought that both were fine, but gave a slight edge to the Widmer. Ellen and I both preferred the Widmer and can understand why it's one of the best selling craft beers in the U.S. It's an easy drinking beer that has just enough going on to keep the attention of a beer geek, but not so much that it will turn off the casual beer drinker. It also seems to us that it would be a good beer to drink on a yacht. Anyone have a yacht that we can borrow?

Winner by split decision: Widmer

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