Saturday, November 22, 2014

Quick Sip 012. Saint Arnold Boiler Room

Sometimes there's a reason something is on sale. I was at a Spec's Liquor Store in NW Houston and they had a large bottle of Saint Arnold Boiler Room beer that was marked about half off; it was only $4.99 for a 22 oz. bottle.

I usually like the stuff produced by one of our local breweries, so I grabbed it on the run. I should have spent more time reading the label because this is a wheat beer. As I said a while back, I'm trying to cut out wheat beers because I turn bright red when I drink them. So far I don't have any other symptoms, but why push my luck -- allergies tend to get worse over time with exposure, not better.

When I first sipped this ice cold beer, I had a MAJOR pucker reaction and was about to give it a scathing review. Fortunately, I let it warm up and was pleasantly surprised at the results.

But let's back up a bit.

The color was wheat yellow with a very generous two-finger head. Not as much lace as I would expect, though. When it was cold, I would have described this as a medium to heavy. When it was warm, though, it was almost gone. Still, the sour flavor compensated for the lack of bubbles, so nothing much was lost.  The aroma was mildly citrus with hints of aromatic hops.

COLD - 35-45 degrees
This was horrible. It tasted like drinking a beer-flavored Sour Patch Kids candy. Honestly, it was just sourness for the sake of sourness. I really don't have much good to say about it at this temperature.

WARM - 60-65 degrees
It's still sour, but it's actually drinkable. There are actually nuances to the beer that were completely hidden at the lower temperatures. The nose, as you would expect, also came alive, revealing the hint of malt and bringing even more citrus to the forefront. However, and this could be due to the length of time the beer sat out warming, the aroma was much less pronounced.

The sour aspects were much less annoying because the other flavors emerged in the warmer beer.

"Boiler Room is a light bodied but surprisingly flavorful sour wheat beer. The sourness is created by souring the wort prior to boiling and fermentation (unlike Belgian-style sours which sour during fermentation and have active bacteria in them when packaged). The nose of the beer has a light Hersbrucker hop note and a distinct funkiness. The taste is sweet malt quickly going into a tart body and finish. The sour and malt flavors balance well all the way through creating a very refreshing beverage, akin to drinking a tart lemonade or limeade. For a beer with just over 3.5%, it creates a big experience for the palate.

Traditionally this beer is enjoyed either straight or with raspberry or woodruff syrup to sweeten it (and turn it red or green, respectively).

Our Boiler Room is pure, with no additives or preservatives. In order to maintain the freshest flavor possible, we do not pasteurize our beer. Many of its subtle flavors are delicate and would not stand up to the heat of pasteurization. We recommend that this product be stored cold to avoid any degradation in flavor.

--From their Website

Even if this were not a wheat beer, it would not make it back into my beer fridge. I'm just not a fan of sours, and even if this is a decent sour, I'm just not the person they brewed this for. Nevertheless, if you ARE a fan of sours, then give this a try. Just make sure you let it warm up a bit before you sip.

My rating -- Cold: 3 out of 10
My rating -- Warm: 6 out of 10

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