Weekly Beer Geek: Agave Wheat
- Written by Luke G
- September 15, 2011
Your average person comes back from a holiday weekend with an aching head and a list of bad decisions to work off. I, though, am far from ordinary. I managed to make no alcohol-based poor decisions while ON vacation, so I’m returning to the workweek with a hit of agave. For those of you who don’t study booze (just drink it), agave is the cactus juice they use to make tequila. Yes, Breckenridge Brewery has somehow created an uholy fusion of beer with the raw material of bad-decision-liquid. It’s a wheat beer, so hopefully it will end up as the oddball kicker to my list of great fruit-wheat hybrids.
The Brewer’s Pitch
The basic body to this beast is an unfiltered American wheat ale. Wheat ales are often cool and light, sometimes even slightly sweet. Unfiltered beer is cloudy or hazy and usually has a creamy smooth texture from the yeast that makes it into the final product. This wheat ale also has a slug of nectar from the Salmiana Agave cactus that provides a sweet southwest kick… whatever that is. They also describe the beer as “refreshing yet interesting.” Let me tell you, it is only for the bravest of souls to venture into a food product described as “interesting.”
Even after lightly rolling the bottle, a good deal of the yeast clung to the bottom leaving a fairly clear, slightly hazy golden brew. The head was a minimal white scrim on top. The smell is extremely delicate, with only the barest hint of wheat and hops to tickle the nose before fading away. As with most unfiltered beer it is smooth and velvety on the tongue without losing its light refreshing character. The wheat notes come through strongly, followed by a fruity pucker that must be from the agave. This matures into a dry plant taste that is in fact reminiscent of the aftertaste from a tequila shot before fading slowly with little aftertaste on the palate.
I was primed to tear this up for lack of flavor, but I ended up pouring an ounce or two back into the bottle and aggressively mixing it to pull the yeasty residue back up- it added more opacity to the beer and a hell of a lot more flavor from the agave. So, with any unfiltered, make sure you’re getting the residue (although, you shouldn’t have to work very hard to get it). The agave taste is unique and replaces hops nicely as a dry finish to clean the beer off the palate. This is a good beer for the end of summer, blending the sweet summery tingle of a wheat with a dryer, almost crackly fruit taste. I’d say this one is good for a tailgate (if you’re of the “drink something good” persuasion, rather than the “get hammered” one), that last cookout, or for just chilling in the outdoors where you can appreciate the cool edge on the air.
The Bottom Line
Do I dare to drop a shot of Cuervo in here and call it an agave bomb? I think I dare… stay tuned.