I was reminded of a beer in an email from a reader. The beer he was drinking was Bell’s Oberon, the quintessential harbinger of spring. I thought to myself, “why not?” I hadn’t had an Oberon (a quick search on the site) since 2009.
A little more thinking and I started wondering how different Oberon would be when compared to Don De Dieu, a Belgian wheat ale and one of my favorites. Soon more similar beers came to mind as well. I’m sure I was going to love this.
Down at the local bottle shop, there it was in the beer cooler, looking like a refreshment from a Dia De Los Muertos festival or Rio’s Carnival. Nice and contrasty blue and orange with a little green thrown in. It was sure to catch everyone’s eye.
Next position over was Oberon in four-packs of cans. The cans were a great idea but the four -pack made me wonder, “Why four ? Why not six? It’s only 5.8%” Marketing, I guess. I picked up a sixer of bottles and paid the man.
Bell named the beer after Oberon, the king of fairies in Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream. Or the moon that orbits Uranus.
Heh. UR-ANUS. Either way, many of us will snicker up our sleeves like those guys when we think about it.
The beer poured and brought about some minor phenomena. The head was not as foamy as a hefewiezen but that was okay. Oberon is not a hefe as such. It uses ale yeast. And what was really quite odd were all the thousands of yeast particles in suspension making the glassful look like a breeding ground for sea monkeys. The aroma had a nice, somewhat sweet citrus smell. Sometimes just smelling a beer would make your mouth water. This was one of those times.
The first sip was delightful. It was with this first sip that I realized how popular this was. It was the taste that did it. The taste was subdued sweetness with some citrus flavors thrown in. The body was light to medium making it a contender for a summer slammer.
Oberon goes up against Goose Island’s flagship 312 Urban Wheat. The idea is the same but the taste is miles apart. It’s akin to Unibroue’s Don De Dieu although The Don is a little off the style in a Belgian sort of way while still utilizing wheat in the recipe and has a much higher ABV.
I think the ladies would like this beer although some of them might get a bit spooked by the yeasties floating around. Better to serve them in a Solo cup. Perhaps a few of the ladies would prefer their Oberon with a slice of lemon or orange. That would be the perfect time to take them to the side and explain to the cutie the wonders of head retention and not “fruitifying” beer. Leave all that to to the Coors Blue Moon crowd. Then ask her if she’d like to see your nucleation points.
Bell’s Oberon is a true staple of warm weather and good times. Bottles or cans, the beer is perfect for patio or beach get-togethers. And for after work as well. Bell should brew this beer year round.
Style: American wheat ale
Taste: Slightly sweet and delightful. A smile in every sip.
Smoothness: Nice and smooth.
Bang for the buck: On a par with others and worth the price.
Amount paid: $9.99 per six 12-ounce bottles.
Get it again? Yes. And a few more times as well.
Wife’s all-encompassing opinion: (Sniff) Smells mild. (sip) It’s like a … kind of a weak lemonade. (sip) A little bit of a tang. (sip) It’d probably be really good if served really cold on a hot summer day but without all the gunk on the bottom. (See? Solo cup to the rescue.)
That “stuff” in Oberon [1:35]
It’s protein. [1:25] – it’s good for you