Profiled by Maria Devan
This week I went out to find something new in a saison and I did! Today I have a farmhouse wheat ale from Jolly Pumpkin called Weizen Bam. At 4.5% it will hardly put you under unless you try and that is the spirit of the farmhouse ale or the table beer. Gentle wit and graceful hospitality. Jolly pumpkin ferments in wood and that means that the beer is unique with wild yeast.
Happy New American Farmhouse Wheat Beer Sunday!
Soft haze on a pastel yellow beer with a thin white head that fizzed up up and away. Sunlight captured. Almost completely clear even at the last pour. Bubbles on the rise but not in a stream.
The nose is powerful and scintillating. Lemon is fragrant and there is bold earthy spice. A sour or tart scent and then to your delight , lots of breaddy wheat. Sharp grasses, almost needle like. It’s golden and goes on forever and has an earthy sweetness all it’s own. Nose is surprisingly deep and hearty. There is a tartness or sour scent to the nose. it smells like a dry white wine does, with a promise of acidity. The barrel on this nose is but an airy lightness. You can only say wood if you imagine it and there is a touch, just a faint bright touch of vanilla. It too does not jut out too far forward.
Taste is delicate and a bit sour. A good sour to me seems to collapse on the palate at just the right moment and let me tell you what I mean. In this one your tongue explodes with breadiness and texture from the wheat that is kissed golden. It’s not as sweet as in a hefeweizen. Citric fruit and hop herbal marry perfectly in lightness with grasses and spice. Clove and earth abound and while you can’t say it’s funky, it’ really is. Now you begin to notice a faint banana ester. It’s so firm that it’s the peel only and it’s just ripe. Clove is abundant but light and peppers the background where you also find a hint of white pepper . As you begin to swallow all the texture and all that dramatic flavor succumbs as your mouth waters to a deceptively light feeling body that shows you a just a tickle from sweetness as it finishes dry. It’s so quenching, it’s as though the beer has disappeared. You laugh because it has. And it lingers like that sweet but dry and your mouth waters. The banana on this palate is an expression of brightness that is very faint but completely firm and in the background. It drinks also like a bit of tart apple. It’s as though the nose is alive and playful and changes gently as the beer warms to show you everything it has. Dynamic wheat, herbal hop with varied sweet grasses, wet dampness, floral nectar, hearty bread, thin honey and abundant clove like spice.
Happy Fourth of July Weekend!
Welcome to the PGA beer rating system: one beer “Don’t bother.” Two: Eh, if someone gives it to you, drink. Three: very good, go ahead and seek it out, but be aware there is at least one problem. Four: seek it out. Five: pretty much “perfecto.”
Maria Devan lives in Ithaca, NY and is a great beer writer. That’s Maria in the middle. The other two are not, but they are lucky to have her as a friend.