Sunday, July 14, 2013

Professor Fritz Briem - Professor Fritz Briem Grodziskie

What is a Grodziskie? Those are the words I said when I first heard about a new (to me) and elusive Polish style of beer a few weeks ago in another beer blog. You can read a more detailed description of the style here, but I'll try to sum it up in three words. Smoke. Sour. Wheat. That's right, a Grodziskie is a smoked, sour wheat beer. I've never even thought of two of these things together, let alone all three in a beer. So if you heard a loud and distant thump a few weeks ago and were wondering what it was, it was the sound of my jaw hitting the ground when I saw those words together. How the hell could those things work together? Was that even possible? And more importantly, where could I get one to try? Luckily, I stumbled upon one a few days later.

Professor Fritz Briem Grodziskie pours a light copper color with a thin and quickly fading off-white head. There was a bit of carbonation visible in the glass, but it definitely looked a bit low to me. The appearance may have been a bit of a let down, but the smell gave me a lot of hope for this beer. There was some cereal malt, light cinnamon and some apple sweetness upfront. In the back, I got some mild wheat, umami, smoked sea salt and just a hint of campfire. It reminded me of taking a sweatshirt to a campfire and then washing it, but then smelling just a hint of that smoke in it the next time it's worn. The smokiness wasn't over the top (which I liked, because heavily smoked beers and I often don't get along well) but there was enough so you wouldn't forget it was there.

As good as the smell was, this beer just didn't quite do it for me in the taste department. There were promises of good flavors in here, but they just never really came through. The taste opens with a mild kick of golden apple, then gives you a quick kiss of tartness that makes you think it's about to turn into a sour beer. But it never does, leaving the tartness unfinished and ending with a long, bland wet wheat finish. There's just a hint of smoked sea salt in the taste as well, but it never really gets its time in the spotlight either. I would love to see all of the element of this beer really showcased, but the only one that really shines is the wheat and it's really not the one that should be the star of this show. That said, the one really redeeming quality in here is the mouthfeel. The nearly perfect carbonation tickles your tongue and really does its best to bring out the flavors in here. Sadly, the flavors just aren't that good. I would love to try another example of a Grodziskie someday. But I don't think I'll be going back to this particular one anytime soon.

Final Grade: C

Top 250 Beers Tasted: 129

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