A serendipitous visit to the beloved Morris Beer Store yielded a brief chance meeting with one of the beer salesman. During my perusal of of the craft beer shelf I was joined by both Gale, the Beer Maven and the salesguy. He had just helped display some new beers which I hadn’t seen before. One in particular caught my eye. It was a wheat beer with a very plain, almost amateur looking sixpack carton. Four or five color graphics with a simple cartoony graphic ironically stood out among the other sixers on the shelf.
Gale asked the guy about it. He said that the beer was primarily distributed across the east coast but finally they were making inroads into the midwest. The MBS was the first of a few midwestern cities to get the beer.
Then the decisive bit of conversation:
Gail: So how is this beer?
Salesguy: You know, I really haven’t tried it, but I hear it’s pretty good.
Gail, gesturing toward me: That’s why we have a gentleman who will taste it for us.
Me: Yes. And I think I’ll try it this weekend.
Did I just get snookered? Nah. It’s BEER, for cryin’ out loud.
What I held in my hand was a sixpack of UFO Hefeweizen Unfiltered Wheat Beer from the Harpoon Brewery out of Boston, MA and Windsor, VT. I checked the label on the bottle: no additional information. I paid the requisite $8.99 and refused a bag to carry it in. (One container inside another is senseless, and a waste. The only reason to carry out a sixpack inside a bag is to disguise the type of beer you’ve bought.)
It’s of interest that the Harpoon Brewery got started in 1986, before the craft beer rage went full bore. Of course, it does make one wonder why they chose the name “Harpoon,” a weapon used for killing whales. Equally odd is the UFO brand they put on some of their beers. I can understand Harpoon and the connection to New England and whaling in the 1800s. But where the UFO fits in is a mystery. Wait. I know… Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. Yes! That must be it! The Enterprise saves the whales. A bit of a stretch, though.
Friday beer time came early. The UFOs had been docked in the beer fridge for about ten hours. They should be sufficiently chilled by now so let’s dive in.
The beer poured up with the traditional wheaty fogginess and a dull pale translucent yellow. It had a nice creamy white top and millions of microbubbles that I could see disappeared into the murkiness about an inch above the bottom of the glass. It had a nice beery aroma to it, nothing masked or hidden.
The first taste hit with wheat flavor, not too much, but just enough to remind me what wheat beer tasted like once again. I wouldn’t call it bold or or robust but I would say that it had a nice even flavor and was very easy to drink. Surprisingly, my mouth got used to the taste quite quickly and the sips just rolled down my gullet.
There was no hint of citrus that I could pick up during the first glass but the overall taste is nice and mellow; not sweet, not sour, just a mild, pleasant mouthful. Sip after sip slid right down and greased the rails for the next ones. Not a helluva lot of taste, a bit of a tang along the sides of the tongue but, for the most part, very drinkable and very pleasant. Not as bold and manly as Hacker-Pschorr nor as tangy as Paulaner. It’s wheat beer on helium.
I’d like to say that this has the makings of a perfect lawnmower beer. Light, easy, tasty and beery. If you have one, you’ll want more. The beer will disappear quickly and you’ll wonder where they all went, especially after a laborious stint out in the backyard on a hot sunny day. Try a sixpack for yourself. Then, when you’re sufficiently satisfied. Pick up another, or maybe two for that one hot day a few weeks from now when you need a lawnmower beer.
Taste: B- > You could drink a pitcherful after a workout in the sun. Or under the kitchen sink.
Smoothness: B > Like a waterslide coated in warm water.
Drinkability: B+ > Damn it, Jim. I’m a doctor. Six ain’t enough.
Bang for the buck: C+ > A little pricey, but how much does warp drive cost?