Friday, March 25, 2011

Muskoka Summer Weiss - An Early "F-You" to Old Man Winter

Beer: Muskoka Summer Weiss
Brewery: Lakes of Muskoka Brewery (Bracebridge, ON)
Type: Hefeweizen or Pale Wheat Ale (hard to tell)
ABV: 5%

It's as if the folks at Muskoka heard all of Ontario cry out in terror and then were silenced by the latest angry blast dished out by old man winter.  Those who have lived in the province for an extended period of time will know that that first heatwave associated with spring is just a ruse, a carrot on the end of the string meant to trick us into a false sense of security.  I foolishly put away my winter boots and brought out the barbecue; I was wrong.  Waterloo got the worst of it, packing in some 23cm of the non-Colombian white stuff; my arms are still tired of shoveling.   But out of the cold, aneurysm-inducing storm there was a beakon of light, a symbol of all that is good and wonderful about the world: a summer-style wheat beer, impeccably timed to be released just as the storm hit.  A wonderful reminder that better days are ahead, that we no longer need to fear winter.  We can laugh again...

Muskoka's been doing a bang-up job with its seasonals thus far, offering some great brews like their Chocolate Cranberry Stout in the winter and their Harvest Ale in the fall.  A bit pricey, but well worth the extra fundage.  For the summer of oh-eleven, Muskoka is putting forward a retooling of their standard Hefeweissbier in the form of "Muskoka Summer Weiss".  Released to the masses in a tall, 750mL swingtop bottle (good for a pint and a half), Summer Weiss is actually pretty good value for your money, only clocking in at around 5 bucks a bottle (compare with their delicious stout, which went for closer to $9).  Definitely worth a pick up for the summer months ahead.

A nice-looking bottle, featuring a summer sun figure and trippy artwork, sealed with an "Enjoy before August 1st, 2011" label.  Done and done.

Poured into a weizen glass. Dark tawny golden in colour, slightly opaque.  Leaves a thick head which recedes quicky after a quick carbonation burnoff; same went with the second pouring.

Nose is lovely - pale malts, light hoppage, banana, orange peel, bubblegum - the latter being especially noticeable. Smells like summer to me.

This is a sweet, slightly malty hefe (or pale wheat, it's hard to tell) that is incredibly tasty. I can see myself drinking this all summer. The usual hefe notes are subtle, but certainly pleasant.

Mouthfeel is thicker than usual for a hefe, and the carbonation is initially aggressive but settles down after a few moments, providing a late kick to the tongue with each sip.

I'll have to stand this one up to their regualar hefe to really figure out the differences between them. By my observations, I think the malt character is more pronounced, and theres a bit of floral hops as well.  Regardless of the changes Muskoka made, this is a very flavorful and enjoyable wheat beer, something I will certainly get more of when patio-drinking season begins. At just a hair over 5 bucks a bottle, this is quite reasonable. I really like what Muskoka has been doing with its seasonals, and this is certainly no exception. Pick a few up for the warm weather!  (Grade: A)

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