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Beer Delivered Via Telepathy. Blucreek Blueberry Ale Review.

February 2, 2010

Listening to Craft Beer Radio Episode #153 “Fruits of their Labor” on my 45-minute commute last week had me in the mood for a fruit beer. They covered five beers brewed with fruit during the course of that episode and at the end I was left wanting that taboo mix of nature’s candy and malt. To my surprise Jeff and Greg never stopped raving about any of the beers they tasted during that episode.

This is surprising because fruit beer is often looked down upon by those learned beer folks who are used to 100+ IBU beers and 15% ABV Imperials. This could be because many fruit beers are tarnished with the dreaded “Natural Flavors Added” stamp. This is like making Kool-Aid with sugar and powder and calling it real fruit juice. The flavor is there, but it got their by cheating.

However, after listening to CBR #153 I had to talk myself out of making the detour to my local beer store and picking up anything brewed with fruit, natural or not. Jeff and Greg had me craving raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, and even snozberries. Maybe this was because I felt guilty for giving into beer-pressure and joining the fruit-beer-hating-bandwagon. Although, in my defense, it was after I forced myself to finish a six-pack of Leinenkugel Berry Weis while playing a beer-guzzling drinking game (bad idea FYI). I haven’t had a fruit beer since.

Well, it just so happens that as I walked through my door and into the house that I was greeted by a family member gifting me a six-pack of beer. Any and all beer is welcome, especially if it is free, but I have been forced to down more free Landshark and Red Stripe than I would like to admit thanks to charitable foundations by the same relative handing me this brown paper bag. As I peeked in and saw the caps were a solid gold I knew it was no generic pale lager sitting heavily in the bottom of that bag. Through some form of telepathy I had been gifted a six-pack of Blucreek Brewing Blueberry Ale. How weird is that?! Just so you don’t think I’m full of it I promise that I never told a soul about A) listening to CBR that night or B) that I was craving a fruit beer only moments earlier.

This was a sheer coincidence. A beer destiny if you may.

THE BEER

Beer: Blueberry Ale

Brewer: Blucreek Brewing. Black River Falls, Wisconsin

Style: Fruit Beer

ABV: 4.0%

Serving: 12 oz. Bottle pour, Dimpled Mug

THE REVIEW

The beer pours a hazy copper-brown color. It is so hazy you cannot see through it, but I still hesitate to call it opaque. A tall fizzy head erupts as soon as liquid touches glass regardless of how patiently you pour. Blucreek fizzes like sprite poured over a glass full of ice. This is the kind of pour where you need to walk away and come back just to wait for the head to die down. Zero lacing.

The aroma is strongly blueberry, perhaps a little wheat, and a little yeast. The blueberry aroma seems far from “natural” here. It has a cough syrup, medicinal quality to it, but it’s blueberry alright. No really other distinguishing malt or hop character here.

The flavor is once again dominated by blueberry, but this time it does seem a bit more natural than what is perceived in the aroma. It reminds me of the dry, frozen, fast food blueberries you can find on frozen yogurt parfaits and sundaes.

Blucreek Blueberry Ale has massively prickly carbonation. It tingles your mouth just as a lively soda would. The body is light and somewhat watery. As for drinkability this beer rates very high. The fruit sweetness isn’t cloying and blends nicely with with beer. It makes for a very refreshing beer than I could see myself yearning for on a hot summer afternoon. This would be a wonderful picnic companion.

Overall, this was a tasty, refreshing, beer, that cheats just a tad by adding natural flavors.  As a warm-weather companion Bluecreek Blueberry ale would be superb, but it just lacks the depth to really warrant any other attention.

THE MATH

Appearance: 3.3

Aroma: 3.0

Flavor: 3.1

Mouthfeel: 3.1

Drinkability: 4.5

Overall: 3.4/5

Chance of Craft Beer Epiphany: 50%

50% may seem a bit high for a fruit beer brewed with “natural added flavors”, but that is actually the key here.  I bet if many of you remember the first alcoholic drinks that appealed to you it was something fruity.  Maybe it was Apple Bacardi or Woodchuck, but the chances are that fruit played a big part in ones acclimation to alcohol.  In fact, two of my earliest non-lite beers I ever enjoyed were a Corona Extra with lime and Blue Moon.  These are two beers I used to consume before I knew anything about craft beer and fruit played a role in both.  These were the first beers that I drank because I enjoyed the flavor and just wasn’t chasing a cheap buzz.  Now think of all the people who only like macro beer.  Give them a fruity beer and there’s a strong chance they will say “oh, so this is what a craft beer is like?”  Now, don’t lie and claim all craft beer is fruit beer, but many craft breweries do in fact brew some solid examples of fruit beer.  This is where fruit beer can be used to help one see beers other than the “lites.”

LINKS

Blucreek Brewing

Beeradvocate

Ratebeer

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2 Comments
  1. Some fruit beers are well done, and others, well….

    I’m always up for a nice Blueberry Ale and there are some very nice ones out there (not Wild Blue!) This one sounds interesting.

    • Yeah, that seems to be the case when it comes to fruit beers. They just really need to stay away form adding artificial ingredients and then they can at least get an “A” for effort.

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