Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Beer 150: St. Cloud Belgian White and a Mystery
I had a friend ask today if I’m still finding things to write about each day in addition to the beer reviews. I replied that it’s hit or miss and lately more misses because I haven’t been feeling well. So I spent the next thirty minutes in the car trying to think of something clever to write about tonight. And that’s when I officially lost all capacity to think creatively. Like I said…it’s hit or miss.
Instead of creativity tonight, I find myself sitting here trying to solve a mystery. Who brews St. Cloud? The label doesn’t provide much help. The website www.stcloudale.com doesn’t help much either. Who or what is behind World Brews in Rochester, NY?
Turns out that World Brews is a subsidiary of Winery Exchange. Based in Novato (CA), World Brews is a private label beer supplier for premium quality beers in the U.S., Latin America and Holland. They have thirty or so beers under their umbrella. Nothing I’ve ever heard of before. I think the St. Cloud came from the Whole Foods in Devon (PA).
It poured a golden straw color that was surprisingly clear for a Belgian white. The head was white and faded away pretty quickly. The smell was general beer and lots of grain. First sip and all I can think is wow, that sucks.
Let’s review the characteristics of a good Belgian white or witbier: Pale. Cloudy. Always spiced - typically with coriander, orange peel and other herbs. Crispness and slight twang come from the wheat and lively level of carbonation.
Let’s compare that to whatever is sitting in this glass: Pale, yes. Cloudy, not really. Spiced, not in the least. Crisp, nope. Slight twang, well it does have a funny aftertaste.
For a beer in the same category as Allagash White, Hitachino Nest White Ale, hell, even Blue Moon, this is total disappointment. (Prepare yourself for some beer snobbery…) If I drank Heineken or Amstel Light, I think this is what I would expect. Blech. And that’s why I don’t bother drinking Heineken or Amstel Light.
I may need to open something else tonight to wash away this encounter. Cheers.