Sunday, August 29, 2010

404. Bell’s Oarsman

And in a not so surprising turn, we’re doubling up on the Bell’s. It’s nice to see Oarsman in the bottle, since if it has been in the bottle in the past, we don’t recall seeing it. This beer gets added on to the long list of delightful and delicious Bell’s products we’ve sampled in the past: Bourbon Barrel Hell Hath No Fury Ale, Batch 9000, Hopslam, Cherry Stout, Sparkling Ale, Winter White, Christmas Ale, Third Coast, Oberon, Octoberfest, and Two Hearted. We’re officially one short of a Baker’s dozen...not that it will take us long to sort that one out...

Oarsman pours a lightly hazy straw with a clean white and persistent head. The nose is slightly sour—more lactic than acetic (as it should be)—with some mustiness mixed with the low levels of dry malt biscuit or bread aromas. Flavors start with a mix of sour and grainy malt—it is tart and dry on the palate. The middle sweetens slightly, and coupled with some of the bright carbonation, is lightly spritzy on the tongue. There’s a slight creamy tang in the turn towards the finish, which is marked by more of the lactic acid (albeit lightly) coupled with a cleaner finish than I expected. Some of the graininess also returns in the end, but here it has more of a lager-like mouthfeel and taste to it, although Oarsman does end without the of the hop bite you’d find in a lager. Instead, there is light sour tang that leaves the mouth fresh and clean feeling. The light body and bubbly carbonation help round the beer, making it very clean, bright, and enjoyable. Oarsman is a refreshing beer for some late summer drinking—on those hot muggy afternoons, it will leave your mouth feeling crisp and invigorated, although the rest of your body will have to suck it up and take the heat. Either that, or head inside for AC, you big pansy. Oh, and we’re making Oarsman the first Top 10 Best Label contender for the year.

From the bottle: “Buoyant, tart and refreshing from using traditional sour mash methods. Great for you and your crew.”

From the Bell’s website: “Designed as a flavorful session beer, Oarsman Ale uses a classic German brewing technique to impart a light, refreshing tartness. Oarsman Ale grew out of a desire to explore the tradition of session beers, trading intensity for finesse while still creating a worthwhile experience for the taster. The grain bill includes a healthy portion of wheat, while light hopping lend citrus & herbal notes to the aroma. Fermented with Bell's house ale yeast, Oarsman comes in at 4.0% alcohol by volume. Rather than being the dominant flavor note, the tartness in Oarsman takes on more of a palate-cleansing role, making it perfect with meals or purely on its own.”

ABV: 4.0%
OG: 1.040
Batch Number: 9861


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