May 20th, 2010

This blog is both a celebration of camaraderie between great friends, as well as a document of their exploits so that future generations of dads may know the great deeds performed by these humble giants. But it is also a serious attempt to conduct a broad-based study of the various types of draft beers and ales available to the beer gourmand. It was in that spirit that I examined the subtle differences between Weihenstephaner and Hoegaarden beers. I took copious notes. Here's what I came up with:

Hoegaarden Original Wheat Beer: The aroma is slightly fruitier, with more coriander and a touch of sourness. It has a sublime first taste, yeasty and full of orange peel. The finish is smooth, light-bodied, and not at all bitter. This is the beer to have first!

Weihenstephaner Hefe Weissbier: The aroma is yeasty and has a slightly more caramel note, with a stronger touch of clove. The finish of this beer is better, with a more satisfying mouthfeel. At 5.4%, it's a little bit stronger, too. This would be the beer to have second!

Perhaps I am overstating the differences between the two. They are vey close to each other and are exemplary beers in this style. Both are light-colored and somewhat cloudy. Tastes are yeasty (with the Belgian Hoegaarden's yeast slightly more complex), but fruity (in particular, orange) and spicy (with coriander the strongest taste).

From here I moved onto the Geffel Kölsch. This is a Cologne-style Reinheitsgebot ale—i.e., adhering to the German Purity Laws of 1516, which specifies that only three ingredients may be used: water, malted barley, and hops. (The role of yeast in fermentation was unknown at the time.) Not bad, but not really my thing. The Bellhaven Scotch Ale was okay. It's oatey, with a dry malt flavor, but I was left underwhelmed. I guess I expected more.

The Captain Lawrence Brewing Company's Liquid Gold, though, was a definite winner! The brewery only opened in 2006, in Pleasantville (Westchester County, NY), but they are already producing worthwhile craft brews. Liquid Gold joins strong German malts with crisp American hops. It's sweet and rich without being cloying; it's spicey without being aggressive. A well-balanced beer that I look forward to trying again!

Of course, I can't claim full credit for the research! I had great help from David, Danny and "P". The comely Stephanie kept us supplied with specimens to investigate (and distilled H2O to cleanse the palate). This is a very low-key joint with a superb tap selection and it made a fine laboratory. Notes in hand, our research complete, we headed next door....

The nose at work

Liquid Gold

David chipping in with the tasting

Dan & ":P" helping with the research