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Sunday, June 5, 2011

Ramblings of an annoyed beer blogger

The freaking Bruins are driving me to drink. Its the truth. Down 0-2 is not a good place to be in the Stanley Cup finals. It's starting to feel like those Cup finals against the Edmonton Oilers in '88 and '90. I'm not optimistic, I gotta be honest. This series is not going according to plan.

And neither is this blog lately.

The last two weeks I have been intending to review a specific summer brew, which for various reasons, I cannot get around to purchasing. One weekend was my daughters birthday. Last weekend the half marathon and that special IPA 12 pack distracted me.

But today takes the cake. I was intending to redeem several months worth of empties at a liquor store I patronize almost religiously.  I cleaned the bottles, pack the car, drive the store, only to be told "Sorry, the machine is broken, no returns today". My response? F You (no, I did not say to this to the clerk at the register, despite an overwhelming desire to do so). I'm thinking this-So what if the automated machine can't break the bottles for you. I paid the deposit on these, I bought them here, and you refuse to redeem the deposit? Seriously? Can you not count the bottles and do the math? But I calm myself, walk to the register,  and ask why they aren't taking redemption's today. Oh, I see you "have no room to store them'. Uh-huh? I did say this- "Do you have a stock room?" (Odd silence from the clerk at this point). Rather than argue, I just left. But I didn't purchase anything. Money is tight, and I wasn't going to patronize this establishment after they couldn't be bothered to redeem my bottles.

Now I have a problem. This beer I am hoping to review isn't widely available in my area. I have very little money. I drive to a small package store in my tiny town, and I find this, for about $4.50 in a 22ounce bottle...

River Ale- Dark American Wheat Ale
Berkshire Brewing Co, South Deerfield, MA
7% ABV

In the interest of complete disclosure, I have to say I only bought this because it was very cheap, and I do like to support local brewers. I really didn't want to stray north of 6% ABV, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

The label describes it as "a dark American wheat beer, single hopped with Willamettes...with notes of nuttiness, fresh baked bread, and a light spiciness of the wheat".

This beer pours a dark, cloudy brown color. Head is light and thin, very wispy.  
Smell is nice- alcohol, yeast, malt, a slight sweetness-great combination.

Mouthfeel is rather thin, as you'd expect from a wheat beer. The carbonation is apparent, and the feel is light.

Taste is complex for a wheat- I get malt, yeast and sour dough bread right away, and very clearly. Usually it takes my less than precise palate several tastes or even pints to pick out flavors, but the characteristics of this brew are very easy to find and make friends with. They step up very politely and say hello, and its great. I'm curious if they used a yeast that used in sour dough bread, because I get the same type of slightly sour finish, which is really pleasant. 

This beer was an unexpected delight, and at less than $5 for a 22 ounce bottle, its budget friendly. I give this 3.5 out of 5.

SPECIAL NOTE- I'd like to congratulate my friend Chris, who ran in his first 5K this weekend! He's been training his butt off, and ran an awesome race! Awesome accomplishment my friend, looking forward to running more with you!

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