Friday, September 19, 2008

Tasting Notes: Bar Harbor Blueberry Ale

Brewery: Atlantic Brewing Company
Style: Blueberry Ale

ABV: 5.2%

Date Poured: August 2008

I am not a fan of fruit in my beer. Yes, the traditional lambics and the occasional well-crafted cherry stout may please my palate on occasion but generally I find fruit in beer to be gimmicky and the results lackluster at best. This goes double for American craft brewers who seem to believe that the quickest way to convert a female drinker is to brew the blandest wheat beer possible and then drown it in some flavor of fruity (peach, raspberry, cherry...take your pick) extract so it's nice and sweet for the delicate ladies. They taste just as bad as they sound.

However, it can be done properly. The Atlantic Brewing Company in Bar Harbor, Maine makes one of my favorite American fruit beers. First, they use real Maine blueberry puree instead of extract in the brewing process. Second, they have avoided using a bland wheat ale as a base. Instead, it's a maltier amber ale that mixes nicely with the blueberry flavor.

It pours a very clear, very bubbly clear copper topped by a thin but persistent and creamy tan head. The nose is filled with very aromatic blueberry and a biscuity malt.

Tastes of bready and lightly nutty malt. Some muted, lightly tart but lightly sweet blueberry flavors but the blueberry is not the main thrust. It merely acts as an accompaniment to the crisp and nutty malt. Just a hint of hops in the finish. Crisp and clean finish with a light sweetness in the aftertaste. Very good stuff and never gets old.

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