Monday, December 13, 2010

Firestone Walker Brewing Co. - Solace

I'd like to start this review by saying that, in general, I love unfiltered beers. Maybe it's because my love for beer started (like so many other people) with a love for hefeweizens. Maybe it's because I love looking at a glass of beer and having no idea what's going on inside of it. Or maybe it's because there's something that seems so untamed about an unfiltered beer. Whatever the case, in general, I like them. So when I was looking around in Bristol Farms the other day and saw a bottle of Firestone Walker's Solace with the word "unfiltered" on the label, the case was pretty much settled. I opened it about an hour later, hoping for some unfiltered goodness.

The beer pours a very hazy orange-ish/ brown color that seemed to glow a bit in the glass. So far so good. It reminded me a bit of Russian River's Sanctification at first, but without quite so much of a radioactive glow to it.

The beer smelled pretty similar to a hef. The smell didn't blow me away like Sanctification, but I could pick out some of that characteristic hef yeast, banana, some sort of melon which I eventually thought was cantaloupe, and some honey.

I'm not going to say the taste was a total letdown, but I was pretty excited for this beer going in, and after the first sip, that excitement was pretty much gone. The taste starts with that familiar wheaty/hef taste, and then fades to a sweet and creamy finish with some orange, honey and a little bit of spice. For me though, here's where it went wrong. It felt like this beer had a lot of potential. However, it felt so overly carbonated, that the bubbles blasted the flavor nuances right off your tongue before they had a chance to shine. In the end, there was almost no finish to this beer and the end taste was slightly off and metallic. This beer was dangerously easy to drink, but not quite as enjoyable as I had been hoping for. This is a good beer for the summer, but I'd say if you had other decent choices, you'd be better off going for something else.

Final Grade: C+

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