Print Story fermented beverage review: troeg's 'dreamweaver' wheat beer and whatever porter
By the mariner (Sat Oct 05, 2013 at 04:40:42 PM EST) (all tags)
picked up a troeg's variety pack up, passing over a good price on a brooklyn 12 pack that would've been much better -- and i consider brooklyn a fairly middling brewery, particularly since the retirement of the once great monster ale.

"dreamweaver" wheat beer -- loose, light beige head dissipates quickly with some lacing. appearance is cloudy blonde, typical of the style. aroma, however, departs sharply from expectation -- the usual banana with pronounced smokiness. taste is buttery, smoked meat against banana with notes of cloves. hard sausage and banana make a rather phallic combination in this reviewer's opinion (brings to mind a workplace sexual harassment video i saw several years ago). mouthfeel is thick and greasy, indicative of excessive diacetyl. this batch may have been the work of an intern. inexplicable.

whatever they call their porter -- this is a so-called american porter, a style with no real definition where apparently anything goes. served in a tulip glass from a bottle. considerable head formation from a fairly conservative pour. foam is the color of expresso foam, the beer is dark brown to black and opaque -- the appearance is pleasing and gives one hope. smell is ominously hoppy, pine/resin hops with the faintest hint of chocolate malt. flavor is surprisingly one note -- resinous hops. this should be labeled a black IPA. again, chocolate malt is detectable, but faintly, indicating an effort was made. except for this this beer is nearly identical to otter creek's black IPA, which i believe i have reviewed before. the latter is a decent beer, if somewhat tiresome after a while.

this experience and reports of surprisingly hoppy amber and pale ales in the same 12 pack make me wonder if this isn't one of too many breweries who manage to score high on beer rating websites by over-hopping their offerings. the goofballs on those sites could save themselves some money by giving up on beer and making themselves herbal tea from the hops packages available at homebrew stores.

< Where we murder for capital | Daydream believer >
fermented beverage review: troeg's 'dreamweaver' wheat beer and whatever porter | 19 comments (19 topical, 0 hidden)
US beers by Merekat (4.00 / 2) #1 Sun Oct 06, 2013 at 10:48:19 AM EST
There are some lovely hoppy US beers but I begin to wonder if the hop love isn't just like scovilling with chilli - pointless machismo regardless of flavour.

that's exactly the right analogy, by the mariner (4.00 / 2) #2 Sun Oct 06, 2013 at 02:24:09 PM EST
in fact, that i was originally going to use that analogy, but i liked the herbal tea line.

in the late nineties or early oughts, i saw a macro beer commercial that showed the usual white cap/fratboy macro beer drinker drinking something that's not budweiser/miller/coors and making what they called a "bitter beer face," some goofy cartoon/cgi creation to suggest that craft beers are too bitter for ordinary, sports-watching folk. on one hand it says something about the market they court, but there's an element of truth to it: some craft beers are too hoppy for most drinkers and, i think much more damningly, too hoppy for style.

the funny thing is i bought this 12 pack specifically because it had a porter and no IPA (because my sister-in-law doesn't like hoppy stuff -- fair enough, there's a lot of IPAs i don't like myself), but the porter is not true to style and the pale ale is in the midrange of IPA hoppiness (substantially hoppier than brooklyn's "east india pale ale" -- which is also not true to style, but anyway). that's pretty shitty, imo.

[ Parent ]
Correct! by Gedvondur (2.00 / 0) #3 Mon Oct 07, 2013 at 09:44:15 AM EST
The brewing community, both craft and homebrew are in this horrible "how many hops can I stuff in this beer" phase.  Homebrewers are even making their own versions of Randal the Enamel Animal for their homebrew.  What we need is another good hop shortage.  That's the only thing that's put the brakes on in the last several years.

I love beer (although I can't drink it right now due to recovery) but anything with more than 60 to 70 IBU in bitterness is a waste of time and a plague on the tounge.  It's very hard to malt balance a beer that bitter.  About the only beer that can be considered an IPA or APA I can drink (and even then only one) is Bell's Two Hearted Ale.

The previous trend was barley wines aged in oak barrels.  At least that one didn't last forever like this hop trend is.  You are exactly right though, this is just like chili makers seeing how much scorch they can put in the stew.

"So I will be hitting the snatch hard, I think, tonight." - gzt
[ Parent ]
i liked those barley wines. by the mariner (2.00 / 0) #4 Mon Oct 07, 2013 at 12:48:12 PM EST
maybe my perception is colored by my own evolution as a beer drinker, but my feeling is that belgian styles are the in thing these last couple years. it's been true for a long time, though, that the best predictor of, say, beer advocate ratings are alcohol content and bitterness. (alcohol content makes some sense though, since it is related to the complexity of the malt character, etc.)

[ Parent ]
Diacetyl by Gedvondur (2.00 / 0) #7 Mon Oct 07, 2013 at 05:08:35 PM EST
Honestly, I don't use Beer Advocate anymore.  I just study the brewery and buy a few of their beers. 

I'm kind of astonished you got a buttery diacetyl flavor off a wheat beer.  That's just fricking weird. Wheat beers are ales and diacetly production is almost exclusively limited to lagers.  Weird what can happen during a hot ferment.

There's a place in Escanaba, Michigan called Hereford and Hops that has diacetyl as the house flavor for its beers.  We talked to the brewmaster about it.  He was sheepish about it, but he doesn't have enough aging storage to let the diacetyl bleed off his lagers with the current volume of sales.  Even worse, the locals all have become accustomed to the taste of diacetyl in his lagers.  The few beers he's been able to age properly received complaints from the locals that those beers didn't taste like Hereford and Hops beer.  Weird what people will get used to.

"So I will be hitting the snatch hard, I think, tonight." - gzt
[ Parent ]
this was hands down the funkiest wheat beer by the mariner (4.00 / 1) #8 Mon Oct 07, 2013 at 05:20:42 PM EST
i've ever tasted and i've had some bad stuff. i don't know the process well enough to speculate about how it happened. from what i understand, though, there are various things that can go wrong that cause it. but you know, the smokiness by itself is weird enough for the style.

[ Parent ]
brooklyn brewery by aphrael (2.00 / 0) #5 Mon Oct 07, 2013 at 02:14:10 PM EST
brooklyn brewery gets an "ok but not great" from me. i'll drink it, and there are times when it's the best thing in someone's house, but i almost never order it if i'm at a bar.
If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.
Agree wrt Brooklyn by toxicfur (2.00 / 0) #10 Mon Oct 07, 2013 at 07:13:19 PM EST
If it's the best thing on tap, I'll order it, but my favorite beers aren't really found outside of Boston -- Cambridge Brewing Company, for instance, has excellent examples of whatever style of beer you want. I love Berkshire Brewing's Steel Rail. I like Harpoon's Summer (it's a kolsch, a style I really like in the summer).

I hate to admit it, but when I just want a beer, I tend to go with Stella. Generic, but with flavor.
The amount of suck that you can put up with can be mind-boggling, but it only really hits you when it then ceases to suck. -- Kellnerin

[ Parent ]
any advice on how to get a better beer palate? by nathan (2.00 / 0) #6 Mon Oct 07, 2013 at 03:06:11 PM EST
I was into beer fairly early (ca. 2000), before micro was mainstream, but I feel like I'm way behind the curve, possibly since I've been married for over a decade now and I never go to bars. Is there some kind of standard work I should read (and some standard beers to practice with/compare)? I have my favorites -- Unibroue, Paulaner Salvator, some Ommegang beers -- but I feel like I'm really out of the loop, maybe even a "square" who's no longer "cool" or, as the kids say today, "phat".

idk, i just drink a lot of beer. by the mariner (4.00 / 1) #9 Mon Oct 07, 2013 at 05:22:41 PM EST
my brother and his wife are into it too. i'm dabbling in homebrew, but it appears i've fucked up my first batch. learning about the process helps a lot, i think.

[ Parent ]
so, e.g., when you started noticing a buttery by nathan (2.00 / 0) #16 Tue Oct 08, 2013 at 11:44:21 AM EST
Texture that you didn't look, you looked it up and found out it was diacetyl and therefore an easily articulable flaw?

[ Parent ]
i didn't need to look up what diacetyl is by the mariner (2.00 / 0) #17 Tue Oct 08, 2013 at 01:38:21 PM EST
and i know what the usual flavor/aroma/texture profile of the style is supposed to be, so it was not difficult to conclude from the meat/butter flavors that there was something up. diacetyl is the cause, which indeed makes it easier to articulate what's wrong.

i should also say that diacetyl isn't necessarily bad. it's a major component of the profile of some popular chardonnays, for example (i can't think of a good example in beer off hand -- maybe some english style barleywines?). it's just that smoked meat clashes with banana, in this reviewer's opinion. my feeling is that most tasters would find it a peculiar combination, hence my alternative: either there's something wrong with the batch or it's a poorly conceived beer.

it's important for beer to be true to style, imo. if they advertised this as their smoked banana ale (another good image for a bottle label), i would just say i don't like it, not that i think it's some kind of travesty.

[ Parent ]
i mean, i know what butane-2,3-dione is by nathan (2.00 / 0) #18 Tue Oct 08, 2013 at 01:52:09 PM EST
And I know that it's a thing in wine, but I don't think I've ever hit it in a beer. I guess if I tasted a beer with that weird flavor/texture profile and happened to remember some winemaking pamphlet I read in 2004, I might think, "aha, diacetyl!"? The "true to style" thing is a good point. (So long as the styles themselves don't suck, of course.) Sounds like the plan is to unearth my beer guide and adopt gzt's drinking regimen. Maybe I can convince myself that I'm tasting whatever it is the book says I'm supposed to taste and annoy my soon-to-be-former friends at restaurants...

[ Parent ]
well right, there's an element of food chemistry by the mariner (2.00 / 0) #19 Tue Oct 08, 2013 at 02:16:07 PM EST
and knowing what chemicals/classes of chemicals commonly contribute to the beer experience and how. there are definitely books and websites that discuss these kinds of things in a fair amount of detail, specifically as it relates to beer and they're worth looking at to develop the vocabulary.

obviously, i don't talk to people about the finer tasting points of whatever we're having if they're not into beer...

[ Parent ]
Buy a bomber or two every weekend. by gzt (4.00 / 1) #11 Mon Oct 07, 2013 at 08:28:07 PM EST
Go to Binny's, get one or two of those 22oz bottles every week. Different beer each time. Spend a moment on google to figure out how cold you're supposed to serve the beer. After a couple months, you'll start having ideas.

Going to bars is the worst way to get exposed - it costs 5x as much.

[ Parent ]
very true. by the mariner (2.00 / 0) #12 Mon Oct 07, 2013 at 09:55:56 PM EST
bombers and 750 mls are a good way to get a variety of interesting beers.

another good thing to do is to become familiar with the various styles (there are a lot, so this takes time) and get a feel for their characteristics. never drink beer from bottles -- always pour into appropriate (or nearly appropriate) glassware. i mean, i tend to drink out of tulips and snifters quite a lot, so the meaning of "appropriate" can be stretched in many cases.

but you want to look at the beer, how it pours, the color, the head formation, retention, lacing, how it coats the glass, etc. after that it's the usual wine tasting thing of smelling, tasting, thinking of what flavors and aromas you detect -- dark fruit, tropical fruit, citrus, raisin, butter, cream, caramel, pine/resin, oak, etc.

[ Parent ]
back when I went to bars, by nathan (2.00 / 0) #15 Tue Oct 08, 2013 at 11:43:01 AM EST
 A college paper was picking up the tab. It was a good way to do a compare-and-contrast since I wasn't paying.

22 oz/weekend would significantly increase my beer intake, so I think this is a great idea.

[ Parent ]
michael jackson by misslake (2.00 / 0) #13 Tue Oct 08, 2013 at 09:56:12 AM EST
the tv show "the beer hunter"
and his books the world guide to beer, new world guide to beer, the beer companion, etc.

[ Parent ]
ty by nathan (2.00 / 0) #14 Tue Oct 08, 2013 at 11:41:08 AM EST
I read the world guide to beer back in the day, and I feel like I know the basics, but I think beer connoisseurship has moved on since I read it. 

[ Parent ]
fermented beverage review: troeg's 'dreamweaver' wheat beer and whatever porter | 19 comments (19 topical, 0 hidden)