Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Reviews: New Belgium Mothership Wit & 1554 Black Ale

Okay, time to get back on track with a few beer reviews for you all.  Both of these came to me courtesy of Danielle Wheeler, who along with being a pretty awesome kickball player loves her craft beer.  As I'm sure you all know, New Belgium Brewing (@newbelgium) is mostly known for their Fat Tire beer, but they also brew some fantastic other beers in their standard lineup and a long line of specialty beers.  I've been enjoying their Lips Of Faith series a lot lately but those will be for another blog post.  

First up, the Mothership Wit, an organic witbier in the Belgian tradition.  Never forget that glassware is important and that beer is always best tasted out of the proper glassware.  For a witbier a pint glass or pilsner glass is recommended but I went with a stange.  It's almost the same as a pilsner glass, so I guess it'll do.
It has a cloudy pale yellow color to it reminiscent of fresh squeezed lemonade. The head is bubbly and frothy and huge with great retention. The aroma is earthy and grassy with a hint of citrus.

The taste is more of the same with no real surprises. It's a good witbier but nothing revolutionary. Good mouthfeel, extremely drinkable, a really nice witbier.  
You can find better witbiers locally like the St. Bernardus Witbier or the Hitachino Nest White Ale, but they are both going to come in more expensive than this New Belgium offering.  For a cheaper version of the style locally, look for a 6-pack of Hoegaarden and enjoy!

My Rating: B+
BeerAdvocate: B

The second New Belgium beer Danielle brought me was the 1554 Enlightened Black Ale.  This one fooled me as based on the name I was expecting a Cascadian Dark Ale, AKA American Black Ale style, but this one is actually a Belgian Dark Ale.  Oops, I had poured it into a pint glass before catching that and this style should definitely go into a Belgian tulip glass.  Oh well, too late now and it's not a HUGE deal.  (Yeah, I know it's New Belgium, but they do other styles, including an IPA or two in there...)

As for the beer, it's a dark brown color with a creamy off-white head. Good retention and great lacing. Yup, the aroma is distinctively Belgian like I should have expected. Smells like dark fruit and chocolate, quite sweet and tasty.

The taste is more of the same, the roasted chocolate notes cone through a lot. It's a little thin, but not bad, and very drinkable.

Despite my glassware mistake, this one is a good beer, very well done, and I'd try it again.

My Rating: B+
BeerAdvocate: B+

So there you go, a couple of solid beers from New Belgium to check out when you get the chance.  I know Fat Tire is their flagship, but they really do some other good stuff too.