“The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men Gang aft agley…” – To a Mouse, Robert Burns.
I currently have two parallel review streams going. I’m expanding my “Beers I Drink Often” series to cover two or three more that I felt I just had to touch on, and I have a couple more beers that have already been reviewed by fellow bloggers that I wanted to check out as well. Well all that got temporarily tossed by the wayside when Untappd throw out a badge this week for checking in Sixpoint brewing’s Apollo.
A couple of things drew me to this beer. First, it’s being marketed as a summer beer (Apollo being the God of the sun, amongst other things in mythology) and it’s getting time to start deciding which beers are going to make the rotation on those hot August days. Second it’s categorized as a “Kristallweizen” a style that, up to the very moment I read the word, didn’t even know existed. The third…well let’s wait on that for a minute.
First the style. I was expecting some deep, arcane brewing style here but apparently it’s really quiet simple. A Kristallweizen is a filtered version of a hefeweizen, removing the proteins that give traditional hefeweizens their cloudy appearance. Kristall clear? Sorry…..let’s taste.
THEM: Apollo’s grain bill is a 50/50 blend of wheat and barley. It’s fermented with an authentic Bavarian yeast to 5.2% ABV and bittered to 11 IBUs. The flavor and aroma profiles are unique, consisting of banana, clove, vanilla, and….bubblegum. Yeah, no lie, as we say in the Dogs of Beer, “Ya gotsta!”
ME: I’m going to forgo my usual cookie cutter review. After all, right now you don’t care if Apollo pours a golden straw color with a thin head that dissipates into a thin lace. You don’t care that the nose is light, hop free and contains hints of banana and that “wheat beer” smell. You only want to know one thing – and yes my friends, there is bubblegum. But let’s back up the tongue a bit. The first thing that hits you is the banana. When I asked Tracey to try it and tell me what she tasted, she had the word out before she even finished her swallow. Then there is a hint of cloves to be had. Once that subsides, then the bubblegum flavor appears. Whether this is some sensory slight-of-hand as flavors fade in and out, or if the beer actually contains the chemical that corresponds to bubblegum flavor, I do not know. But I do know that if you bought baseball card packs with that rock hard stick of gum in them when you were young, or if you were ever a Bazooka Joe fan – you’ll get this.
One interesting note, the beer poured cloudy. I tried it in two different glass and got the same result. Oh well, I guess that’s why they call them style “guidelines”. As you’d expect with only 11 IBUs, the beer finishes clean and refreshing with no lingering bitterness.
Wheat beers can be strange beasts to beer drinkers who haven’t really tried them. The cloudiness along with the banana, clovey, spicey flavors (all of which can be quite heavy in some examples) are different than what you get out of a pure malt beer. But I would put this up as a good entry level wheat, and indeed a great summer beer. All the elements are there, but not so pronounced that they’ll bowl you over. I would say that the hardest thing here for new wheat beer drinkers is deciding if you can accept the taste of bananas in your beer. And that’s something only you can decide. So if it sounds interesting to you, pick up an Apollo and toast the sun god; either because you love summer beers, love bananas and bubblegum, or you just “gotsta!”
Time for another beer….