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Day #10 – Harpoon UFO Hefeweizen

January 11, 2011

Harpoon UFO Hefeweizen

Harpoon Brewery is based out of Boston, Massachusetts and is in the top 10 largest craft breweries in the United States.  They have been brewing since 1986 and opened up a 2nd location in Vermont in 2000.  They have steadily been increasing production over the past decade and have also increased distribution.  We receive several of their beers here in Texas, including their new experimental lineup, “The 100 Barrel Series”.  This is a series of releases that are made in small batches and only sold in 22oz bottles, called bombers.  As several beers in that lineup are uncommon or experimental, it is really hit or miss whether it will be good or not.  But there’s only one way to find out!  This beer unfortuately is not in that series, but is one of their year-round offering.  (The UFO stands for UnFiltered Offering.)

This beer is classified as a Wheat Ale, and should have a relatively low ABV.  As you might have guessed, it is brewed with heavy portions of wheat, to supplement the other main ingredients.  It should be served in a Shaker glass or a Weizen glass-which is always preferred.  I have selected a Pyramid Weizen glass for this American Wheat.

This beer pours a very cloudy yellowish-gold color with a very tall white head.  It is not uncommon for a beer with a wheat base to be cloudy, as generally these beers are left unfiltered.  Leaving a wheat beer unfiltered retains a lot of flavor components as well as aroma, so a cloudy looking wheat ale is your friend.  Take a look:

Wheat beers/hefeweizens are typically served with a slice of fruit.  I usually set the fruit aside at the start so that it does not interfere with the taste and smell of the beer.  After you have taken a few sips, feel free to add the fruit if you wish.  I relate this to putting salt/pepper on your food before even tasting it.

The aroma of this beer is particularly nice.  Lots of citrus fruit notes and tons of wheat and bready notes.  I can pick up a fair bit of yeast which also contribute to the bready aroma.  The citrus comes in later with orange peel and lemon notes.

The flavor on this is pretty dry, very bready and wheat tasting.  It also has a small fruit element that disappears pretty quickly.  I must say, for all the fruity goodness in the aroma, it does not show up in the flavor.  This beer would actually do better with a slice of orange or lemon, as the flavor does not stand very well on its own.

At 5% ABV, this falls right in the range where we expected it to be; in line with other wheat ales.  Not bad but where’s the fruit?

Cheers!

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