If I wanted water, I would have asked for water.


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

A New Look at Henry's

So I've been trying to find a bottle of the new Weinhard IPA for about three weeks. It's always sold out in the six-pack, leaving me with a half-rack or nothing. Guess which way I've gone. In yet another fruitless effort last night to get a single bottle, I decided to pick up a few of their other offerings just to see what the line is like. Here are my findings.

Beer: Weinhard's Blue Boar Pale
Target Audience: Micro fans on a macro budget
Tasting Notes: Very pale, thin head. Hop aroma reminds me of a European pilsner, and although they're not present, hops seem like Saaz. Extremely crisp and inoffensive. Fuller than a PBR, but lacks the interest of a FS Session. Pour it into a Heineken bottle and I don't think anyone would notice.
Details: Cascade, Willamette, and Cluster hops, 4.6% abv, 14 IBU
Upshot: It says something that the pale ale is brewed with fewer hops than the Hef (see below). It's better than I recall the old Blue Boar Pale Ale of 80s vintage being, but not much.

Beer: Honey-brewed Hefeweizen
Target Audience: Clueless folks who have heard the word "Hefeweizen" but don't know the difference between Henry's and Widmer.
Tasting Notes: Sweet on the palate but backed by a strong wheat note. A tiny bit of smokiness, suggesting the barest of nods to the original style. Honey adds that characteristic structure you find in the mouth--sort of a creamy, viscous quality the unfermentables leave behind.
Details: Cascade hops, 4.9%, 16 IBUs
Upshot: The closest of this bunch to a craft beer. Sort of tasty, in a slummin' it kind of way.

Beer: Belgian Style Wheat
Target Audience: Young women.
Tasting Notes: See this post.
Details: Cascade hops, 4.9%, 16 IBUs
Upshot: See this post.

Beer: Blond
Target Audience: Unclear. This beer is slotted in the PBR category, but by naming it "Blond," they eliminate the principal clientele of the product: poor young men. Go figure.
Tasting Notes: A straightforward light lager. The front end's actually pretty tasty--slightly sweet but crisp, fresh--but it bottoms out and finishes with a thin, metalic bitterness.
Details: Cascade hops, 5.1%, 18 IBUs
Upshot: If you spit it out immediately, you'll think it's akin to Pacifico, but if you swallow, you'll perceive its American tin-can heritage.

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