Friday, May 6, 2011

Three Floyds Brewing Company - Gumballhead

In most beer trades, the traders agree to a certain number of bottles of beer to trade, be it one bottle or an entire case of beer. However, it's always polite to add one or two "extra" bottles. These are entirely up to the beer trader and is kind of the trader's way of showing how much they know about beer. For example, if you know that the person you're trading with is all about getting beer from areas that don't distribute to them, you might throw in something from a small local brewery. If you know the trader really enjoys a particular style, you might throw in what you believe to be a good example of that style. No matter how you choose to do it, extras are part of what makes beer trading exciting. You literally never know what's going to be in that box when you open it.

In the recent trade I did with a trader from Cincinnati, the trader wasn't able to find a few of the beers I requested, so I got some fantastic beers that I wanted (Kentucky Breakfast Stout and Hopslam) along with some nice extras. One of these was Three Floyds' Gumballhead.

Three Floyds has been on my radar for a while now. They're based out of Indiana and make some of the top beers in the world, including Dark Lord and Dreadnaught. One of their beers that sort of flies under the radar is Gumballhead, a Pale Wheat Ale. "Uh oh," you're saying, "Wasn't that last beer you reviewed a Wheat Ale? And wasn't that behemoth the first 'F' you've ever given on this blog?" Relax. I'm not against wheat beers in general. I just happened to really not like the last one I tried.

Gumballhead pours a pale honey color with a thin head that looks to be all carbonation and dies fairly quickly. The smells of this one are more along the lines of what a good wheat beer should smell like (are you listening, Kennebunkport?). I picked up some banana, bubblegum, melon and a slight hint of hops on the nose. None of these elements were particularly overpowering and they melded together perfectly. On a side note, this beer may have the best label I've ever seen. It looks to be some kind of pissed off cat with a black eye and a cow nose and there's a cigarette hanging from his mouth. Fantastic. We need more beer labels like this.

The taste starts with a lot of caramel malt flavor and some citrus hops. The hops come in first and are followed by a lot of malt flavor. The wheat gives this beer an amazing smoothness and a nice, creamy mouthfeel. This is probably the best wheat beer I've ever had. (Insert Kennebunkport joke here.)

Final Grade: A

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