We're staying local this week for a look at a couple of beers.
First, local local: From White Birch Brewing of Hooksett comes White Birch Belgian Style Pale Ale, $4.69, 6.5% alcohol by volume. Large white head, creamy and frothy by turns, over hazy beer amber/orange in color. Medium malt nose with caramel and coffee coming through, medium citrus with spice and orange blossom. The palate is dry, with medium bitterness, acidity, alcohol and body, all well integrated for a harmonious blend. Medium-plus flavor intensity of hops and malt as above. Very good, with balance, length and flavor intensity.
New England local: Sam Adams 26.2 Boston Brew. Sam Adams is a sponsor of the Boston Marathon, and for the event they have again sent forth their 26.2 Boston Brew, a Gose-style beer at 4.5% abv.
If my mention of the marathon brings mixed feelings this year to you as it does to me, consider this from Jim Koch, Founder and Brewer at Sam Adams: "Last year, following the tragic events that took place on race day, we committed to donating all of the profits from the sale of the 26.2 Brew to the Greg Hill Foundation, which provided immediate support to survivors of the Boston Marathon tragedy and their families. This year we're continuing our commitment and again will donate all profits from the sale of Boston 26.2 Brew to the Greg Hill Foundation for the ongoing needs of the survivors and their families."
First a word on Gose — it's a simplified spelling of the word Guezue (Go-zeh), a Belgian style. The making takes a page from Champagne, and is a mix of Lambic beers, both newer and those that have been aged a while. Beer Advocate describes the style as "often crisp and dry with fruity-esters, sour, acidic or tart flavors. Gueuze beers are also typically light-bodied, lightly hopped and contain no malt sweetness. Alcohol by volume contents range from 5 to 6 percent."
As a Gueuze is a Lambic beer, I should mention that a Lambic is a spontaneously fermented wheat beer (no yeast added by the brewers). They are often available around here as fruit Lambics. Serve them slightly chilled; pour into a champagne glass, attending carefully, as there may be some yeast left in the bottom.
As for the Sam 26.2: hoppy nose, off-white head, good staying power, slightly hazy beer. While the hops first emerge, there's malt behind it if you give it a minute or so. Dry palate, with medium bitterness, good acidity, good carbonation, medium body, well-integrated alcohol, and a medium, refreshing texture. The flavors change as you drink, hoppy, slight malty, spice at the back of your mouth, a hint of sour. Altogether good.
Contact local beer and wine writer Jim Beauregard at firstname.lastname@example.org.