The beloved Morris Beer Store found me perusing the craft beer shelf a little after 4 pm. I had taken a vacation day off work, slept late and whiled away the afternoon cruising the Web and now I was scrambling to choose a review beer for the evening while there was still time to properly chill six shelf-stored beers. A couple of stouts caught my eye but I decided to keep them in mind for future reviews. I wasn’t really in the mood for another pale ale but one seasonal offering from New Belgium will be on my list as well.
There was one beer which I had seen before and usually passed by. But for tonight I figured, why not, and selected O’Fallon Wheach, a peach wheat concoction that I hoped would kill two beer styles with one stone. As I proceeded to the checkout, I mentally prepped myself for another fruit beer and wondered how well it would play with the wheat. My train of thought was interrupted when I had to fork over the asking price of over 10 Illini-bucks for these six beers. I steamed in my truck all the way home, trying to blame the cost on some beer entity.
One other reason I chose this beer was the past “failed” homebrew my son and I brewed up a while back. It was also a peach wheat beer but was much darker than this. But in our ignorance, we opened the bottles before they were properly conditioned and many were flat. Most bottles weren’t properly filtered when filled and had residue and chunks at the bottom. We had put three pounds of peaches into a dark wheat beer wort in the primary fermenter, not knowing any better.
A few weeks ago, I grabbed one of those “failed” pwheat beers and poured it into a glass being mindful of the dregs at the bottom. The beer turned out to be quite clear and quite tasty, a slight harshness due to the malts selected but with a nice sweet taste and an ABV of 4.3%. Now I’d like to see how this Wheach beer compares to our old peach wheat concoction.
The bottle depicted a Pac-Man style peach cartoon figure and the statement: MALT BEVERAGE WITH NATURAL FLAVORS. There was no other information on the label. However, the sixpack carton had a bit more to say:
Here’s how we have some fun with our beer! We design a recipe to fit a particular season of the year and then we brew only a limited number of batches. So when it’s gone it’s gone… until next year.
We add a touch of peach to our award winning wheat beer to create O’Fallon Wheach, our peach-wheat summer seasonal since 2005. Refreshing and crisp, it’s perfect for warm summer weather.
Also stated on the carton was O’Fallon, Missouri, yet the label on the bottle stated, O’Fallon Brewery, Stevens Point, Wisconsin. What’s going on here?
Thanks to our Information Superhighway (I thought I’d resurrect that term briefly) I ran across this article and the following statement gleaned from a beer forum:
O’Fallon’s brewery has pretty much reached capacity. Therefore, they have moved production of the bottled 5-Day IPA and Seasonals to Steven’s Point Brewery in Wisconsin. Eventually, all bottled products will be produced up there. All draft is still produced in O’Fallon and will remain that way. This will help the brewery build volume and raise the necessary capital to allow them to eventually expand/ or build a new brewery–whatever way they eventually decide to go.
The very, very positive thing about the contract brewing at Steven’s Point Brewery is that they are making excellent beer for O’Fallon (and Lemp at this point). The consensus from consumers seems to be that everyone really likes the finished product coming out of Wisconsin; and, they agree that the beer tastes remarkably consistent with what was formerly produced in O’Fallon (no small feat, indeed).
Then I spotted their brewery video and after viewing it, I knew that they just didn’t have enough room, so they contracted out the brewing of this beer under recipe control.
Totally demystified, let us get down to the business of drinking beer. I opened the fridge and was pleased that the newly purchased beer had attained launch temperature.
When the beer poured, it took on the familiar appearance of a wheat beer, yellow (incandescent lighting plays hell on photos,) foggy and white headed. Lots of medium sized bubbles were rising from what could be seen through the cloudiness. The white head stood up about a half-inch and held. The aroma, right off the bat, smelled of fresh peaches. I wondered how far they’d take this taste.
The first sip was teeming with peach flavor, but, surprisingly, the beer taste was there as well. The flavor is remarkably peachy buy not overwhelming. It’s mostly present in the exhale after the swallow. The peach doesn’t become the whole taste of the beer, leaving some room for a slight wheat flavor.
The body is light and quite unique. This was a very drinkable beer, much better tasting than peach juice. The resident sweetness is not cloying at all, but rather lends a certain peachy-keen color background to the overall taste experience. There may be a tendency for this flavor to get a little old or tiring after maybe four or five bottles in a row.
I’d venture to say that the O’Fallon brewers utilized a sort of natural peach extract flavoring for this beer, but nicely proportioned it into the recipe. It tasted nothing like our homebrewed pwheat beer. But conversely, our beer came nowhere near tasting like this professionally brewed peach wheat beer.
I’d consider this beer a lawnmower beer. Slammin’ a few of these after a backyard workout would be perfect. This beer would also make a great sippin’ beer while milling around the barbecue grill waiting for the steaks, chops and ribs to get done. This would also be a great beer for the ladies, not too sweet and not too beery. Just don’t show up at poker game or fight night carrying a sixpack of this beer. Unless of course, there will be ladies there.
This peach wheat Wheach is a special occasion beer depending on your particular situation at hand. You’ll have to decide for yourself when and where this beer would fit in. Overall, I find it amazing that this 3,000 year-old beverage called beer can be changed and altered in so many delightfully tasty ways. Peaches and beer. Hmm. Better‘n peaches and cream.
Taste: B- > Dessert for your taste buds.
Smoothness: B+ > Like the skin of a peach without all that fuzziness.
Drinkability: B > Get enough to last the entire season.
Bang for the buck: C > A bit expensive for a man; a nice gift for a lady.
Wife’s all-encompassing opinion: Oh, lemony it looks like. (sniff) OOh! Wow! Peachy! (sip) Wow it’s really peachy! (sip) It almost doesn’t taste like beer. (sip) It’s almost something you drink in the summer like lemonade. It’s peachade. (sip) It’s pretty good. (Hey, is THAT too bitter for ya?)