Jun 012008

I stopped by our local beer emporium yesterday and noticed all the summer seasonals were back on the shelves. Some people might use Memorial Day as the official start of summer, but I use the appearance of witbiers, light wheats, and easy-drinking lawnmower beers in retail stores as my benchmark. Here’s a review of my first official summer beer.
Sea Dog Bluepaw
Perhaps it was due to a slightly stuffy nose, but the beer did not smell as strongly of blueberries as I would’ve expected. However, the scent is definitely identifiable as blueberry, with a faint touch of grain and a sort of creaminess I assume is from the wheat. As the beer warmed, the creaminess was less noticable while the blueberries became more prominent.

Beer is amazingly clear for a wheat beer and has obviously been filtered. Light gold in color. Formed a large head when poured which settled quickly, leaving no lace on glass.

This tastes exactly like what I think a blueberry wheat beer should be. The blueberry is present and abundant without being overpowering or cloyingly sweet. It also tastes like natural blueberry flavor as opposed to the slightly chemical feel that extracts or artificial flavoring can give. The beer is well-balanced, with the sweetness of the blueberry kept in check by the tart flavor of the wheat malt – it is almost faintly sour, but not in an unpleasant way. Lightly hopped – detected a bit of bitterness in the finish and aftertaste, but the hops are not prominent enough to pick out on their own.

The carbonation level is on the high side, resulting in a crispness which helps further cut the sweetness of the blueberry and works to cleanse the palatte after a sip. This is not a beer which sticks to the roof of your mouth. The beer is light-bodied without tasting too thin or weak.

A nice fruit beer I look forward to each summer. If you don’t like light-bodied, lightly hopped, fruity wheat beers, expect to be disappointed. Personally, I have a special place in my heart for such creations, and love kicking back on a summer night with a few. The blueberry flavor is interesting because the sweetness adds to the body, making this beer feel slightly bigger and smoother than a similar beer with citrus flavors. You won’t make any mistake – this is a light-drinking wheat – but it is more filling that you might expect. Be it my love for Maine blueberries or the dog on the label, Bluepaw is one beer that keeps finding its way into my glass.