White Birch Brewing
This review is a few months old, but WordPress has been jamming me by not allowing me to upload photos, but it looks like we’re back. That said, I had to put the image at the bottom of the review and not in it’s customary left-or-right-of-the-color-description spot. It’s summer and I plan on drinking a lot of beer, so reviews should reappear with some regularity. Thanks for visiting, come back soon.
White Birch takes some chances, making small-batch brews with a wide variety of additional ingredients. They also take great pains to make sure you know exactly what you’re drinking, indicating, month and year of inception, and batch number of your beer. Once again, my beer hoarding has gotten the better of me as this beer was brewed March 2011 and, according to the bottle, “is not intended for cellaring”. As I recall, I bought this in August, so a few months shouldn’t be a huge deal.
Right from the get-go, you can tell there’s nothing decrepit about this beer. The carbonation is lively and crisp as an egg-shell white head rises up and crackles over crystal clear clarity. Very fine bubbles travel languidly up the glass, as though they’re stopping to enjoy the sunset-orange color of the ale.
The aroma is an interesting mix – the strong citrus aromas from the Cascade and Centennial hops take on a slight funk from the Belgian yeast, mixing to make an aroma that wavers between wet horse and cooked wild rice.
The mouthfeel is full, starting tart but slowing down a bit. Initially, the lemon, grapefruit, and pine bark flavors from the West Coast hops kick in on the sides of the tongue, traveling backwards with a small dose of whole grain bread bittiness which is really nice. Just when you think it’s a miniature hop-bomb, those grains flavors emerge at the back of the swallow as rye and caraway seed.
Almost no heat from the relatively high (6.5%) ABV, but this particular bottle probably calmed down a bit over the last year. I’ll have to give some fresh White Birch another try, but the addition of the cooked grain bitterness on top of the hops is awesome.