Friday, June 15, 2012

031. Shock Top Belgian White

It's been a long time since I made a just-before-midnight beer run. The fact is, I usually have enough beer around the house to have more than a few drinks, if that's my intent. But last week I only had singles in the house, and all of them were slated for future reviews. Since I didn't feel like reviewing a lot of beers that night, I decided to take a run over to my local CVS Pharmacy.

It was 11:45 p.m. on a Thursday night (in Texas, the weeknight cutoff for beer sales is midnight) and I was sorely disappointed that they didn't have any of my usual beers on hand. In fact, their it was like Old Mother Hubbard was living through Prohibition -- they were out of almost anything. No Shiner Bock, no Hop House Amber Ale -- in fact, almost nothing. The only thing they had that I would consider drinking was a 12-pack of Heineken Light... and something new. A 12-pack of something called Shock Top Belgian White.

Time was running out -- I didn't have time to go anywhere else, so I decided to take the gamble and buy the Shock Top, in spite of the fact that I'm not usually thrilled with Belgian Whites, nor do I like a lot of citrus and spices (the packaging says it has citrus peels and coriander). My rationale was simple: I tend to like lighter beers in the summer, and it was too late to go anywhere else.

The Pour
The aroma is pure citrus -- so much so that I could almost mistake it for an orange lemonade drink. It has a lot more citrus than I usually like, plus the spices were very pronounced in the odor. After pouring more than one bottle, I saw that a few of them actually had citrus peels or other small debris floating in them. I'm not squeamish, though (I know a few guys who can't stand anything but the purest of beers), so I just drank it. It added a little flavor, which was not unpleasant.

This pours as a very cloudy yellow. To be honest, it is not very attractive. It does have a thick and pretty head, though. It is thick and white and it leaves a nice lace, but it fades quickly. Far more quickly than I expected.

The Sip
I did not love the first sip. It was too much like a Mike's Hard Lemonade gone awry. But I give it a little time and, as it warmed up between 45 - 50 degrees, I found the citrus notes came alive and found balance with the malt underflavors. In some ways, it reminds me of a citrus wine cooler poured into a decent Belgian white. This isn't a bad thing (and I hope this doesn't sound weird and off putting) because the flavors actually began to work for me. I don't love it, but I definitely liked it and can picture this as a beer that some of my lighter friends) that is to say, those who like beers that are lighter than I prefer) might enjoy at a picnic or a summer party.

After Report
I actually finished the 12-pack in a reasonable time (had two while grilling one night and the light flavors went well with the stifling heat next to the fire). That it's not still sitting in my refrigerator says good things about the fact I enjoyed it. I didn't love it -- and don't think I would consider picking it up in the fall or winter -- but I might actually buy it again.

While working on my after-taste write-up (I never read about beers before or during my review), I found they have some of the funniest danged commercials I've ever seen! Here's one, but I suggest you go to YouTube and hunt around for others. They are laugh-out-loud funny.

Thoughts from the bottom of the glass:
Color: Very, very cloudy yellow
Aroma: Lots of citrus
Hops: Faint, but present
Head: White & strong, but not as thick as expected
Lace: Strong: More than expected, but faded quickly
Carbonation: Medium/strong
Temprature Sweet Spot: 45 - 50 degrees
ABV: 5%
My Summer Rating: 6.75 out of 10

Other Reviews Worth a Sip:
These guys over at Rate Beer can't seem to get past the fact that it's not a standard Belgian White, plus some of them just seemed to be pissy about Anheuser-Busch products in general (not that I blame them, but I think we need to keep an open mind, especially when one of the Big Guys actually does try something new).

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