Sunday, September 20, 2009

82. Highland Cattail Peak Organic Wheat Beer

Our second beer from Highland Brewing Company in Asheville, NC. Asheville is home to Biltmore Estate, the gi-normous estate build by George Washington Vanderbilt in the 1890s. Sporting 175,000 square feet and 250 rooms, Vanderbilt was apparently planning on putting up a few people back in the day. Ah, the lovely excesses of Gilded Age America. Asheville is also home to an unfair share of breweries. Besides Highland and French Broad, there is also Green Man Brewing (also known as Jack of the Wood), Pisgah Brewing, Wedge Brewing, OysterHouse Brewing, and the Asheville Pizza & Brewing Company. I'm sure two or three more have popped in the short time that I've spent typing this. In other words, a vibrant craft brewing scene.

Cattail Peak has a pale yellow color and a creamy white head. The nose reveals light wheat aromas along with some subtle spicy hints. Beginning with a smooth creamy soft wheat flavor, Cattail Peak builds into a rounded middle with some bite and low levels of spiciness before ending with a slight musty sourness. We’re not quite sure how to locate the mustiness—it doesn’t taste like the soapy hop taste of a lager, but there is not enough of the flavor to really say more—while it is not the flavor of a lager ending, that’s the best description we could come up with. The tastes does linger a bit, but then disappears, ending clean and crisp. As well, we’re not sure we can identify the hibiscus, unless that is what we are getting as the light spiciness in the middle or the musty ending. Light-bodied, Cattail Peak has a soft, smooth mouthfeel with a pleasant and crisp carbonation bite. Smooth, subtle, and well-balanced, it is most interesting for what it doesn’t do in regards to American wheat beers: it is not bland, it does not have a grassy profile, and there is a real nuance of flavor in the profile. While it does come across in part like a lager, it is nonetheless good quality drinking

From the label: “An invigorating wheat beer with 100% organic grains, a hint of rye and the tang and hue of organic hibiscus, this refreshing brew is as cool as the breeze that blows down from Mount Mitchell to Cattail Peak. Enjoy this delicious creation when the hottest summer day demands the best of the Blue Ridge.”

ABV: 4.7%
IBU: 17
Hops: Palisade, German Hersbrucker


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