Nick Carr on May 9, 2016 0 Comments Quick Characteristics Brewery Marble Brewery Location Albuquerque, NM Style American Wheat ABV 5.6% IBU 13 Hops Crystal Malts 2-Row, Wheat, Honey Malt Shelf Life 3 to 4 months Suggested Glass Weizen Glass Serving Temp 48 – 50°F Availability Year Round Food Pairings Green Chile Enchiladas, Shrimp Salad, Chèvre Cheese, Light Orange Sorbet Summer’s just down the road and around the corner. The spring wind is still kicking up here, but the days are warmer and every once in a while we’ll get a day without wind or cloud, and a strong sun; all hinting at summer’s balmy embrace drawing near. With the changing tide of the season comes the changing of the beer guard. The last of the roasty, dark-fruit ladened, and sweeter give way the bready, bright, and crisp. Now is the time of the Gose, the Blonde, the Pilsner, and the Wheat. So, in celebration of such days and the tidings they bring I’ve decided to review an American wheat beer, a style made of the very essence of summer. I went searching for a wheat, though not too hard or long, — wheat’s aren’t that hard to find, especially when their native season is just about to break — and so Marble’s Wildflower Wheat found its way into my shopping basket. Marble is a local brewing company just a couple hours down the road. It is one of the largest breweries in New Mexico and was named 2014 Great American Beer Festival – Small Brewery & Small Brewery Brewer of the Year. They have long been a New Mexico favorite. The brewery was founded in 2008 by Ted Rice in a downtown building in Albuquerque. They started with 5,000 square feet of production floor, but after brewing 14,700 barrels of beer in said space last year Marble decided it was time for a much needed space upgrade. A renovation, giving them an addition 7,000 square feet, just finished earlier this year, which will give the brewery the capacity to make 30,000 barrels of their finest in the coming years. American wheats usually carry a slightly more hop forward countenance than their German and Belgian cousins. They also are likely to carry the signatures of American hop varieties; citrus, floral, and spice. Another glaring difference between this style and its cousins is the neutral yeast character. Here you will find little of the fruity esters, especially banana, or spicy phenols. And seldom is orange peel or coriander used as in Belgian Wits; though this one does make use of the latter. THE TASTING Below are the tasting notes I took while drinking Wildflower Wheat. If you tasted this beer, please share your thoughts with me in the comments below. Pour and Aroma: Pours a pale washed out golden color. It’s cloudy, as any good wheat should be. A small one finger head of sterling white foam builds than crashes to close to nothing almost immediately. Rather strange for a wheat beer. *Update: The pour bothered me and thinking it was likely caused by an unclean class I reviewed a second bottle. The second time it poured like any good wheat should. A 2 1/2 fingers-worth of white rocky head. Left good lacing as it dropped. Aroma of light wheat character; grainy, bready, and light dough qualities. Yeast remains pretty neutral with just the barest hint of banana. Low hops combine with the coriander to bring an overall modest spicy note. Mouthfeel and Taste: Body is a light medium with carbonation running the same standard. Mouthfeel is soft with some creaminess. Taste of soft wheat off the front with mellow grainy sweetness. Pickup the coriander too; suggestive, inviting, and not overdone. What buys this beer back from other wheats is the tinge of honey flavors that luxuriate through the middle and into the swallow. Hops bring low lingering bitterness and whispers of spice and fruit. Finish is somewhat crisp followed by a lingering aftertaste of thin honey and hop spice. FINISHING THOUGHTS This is a nice friendly summer wheat. Nothing over the top about it; it’s not that crazy socially dominating friend that always needs the full room’s attention… and not always in a good way. Which sounds like maybe a raucous Imperial or Double IPA or one of those over-the-top fruity lagers drawing to much attention to itself. This one is that other friend, the thoughtful one, crisp, refreshing, with just a smiling twinge of honey sweetness, not sappy, just sweet enough to charm; ready to share after-work pleasure in the sun, quench a high desert thirst, or lubricate a balmy evening of good conversation. However you choose to partake, you’ll find it worth your while. Cheers!