Weekly Beer Review: Bollywood Blonde Ale

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Bollywood Blonde Ale
Arbor Brewing Co.
$2.19/Bottle (12 oz)
Grade: D+

The Beginning:
“Bollywood” is a nickname for the Hindi-language film industry located in Mumbai, India. Just like how “Hollywood” is often used as shorthand for the entire US film industry even when it is not located in Hollywood, CA, Bollywood properly refers to only the Hindi productions out of Mumbai (and not other production centers and other Indian languages)- but is often used as shorthand for “Indian movies.” I present you with this brief history of the name in an attempt to distract you from the fact that I don’t have a particular way to thematically introduce this beer.

The Brewer’s Pitch:
Bollywood Blonde is a fruity copper-orange ale, rich with the aroma of orange and lemongrass. The citrus on the nose is reflected in the crisp and refreshing taste that blends sweet malt and spice with zesty, juicy citrus. This beer is an homage to the tradition of Belgian ales with its malt blend and notes of citrus peel and coriander, and its fruity flavors and low bitterness make it pair well with spicy or fruity foods.

The Beer:
The beer is a dark, hazy red-gold with a bright golden head that dissipates fairly quickly to a thin scrim of patchy bubbles. The nose is subtle with notes of toasted grain and a faint orange-spice musk. The taste is rather stale malt, a grainy blend somewhat reminiscent of a Belgian White. There is a hint of orange zest and a dry burst of coriander that goes from dusty and herbal at front to sweetly spicy at the back end. The beer goes flat very quickly, and leaves a tangy bite of spice on the back of the palate.

The Breakdown:
At first blush this beer was sort of a pleasant medium, a beer with the citrus and spice of a Belgian and the lighter body and sweeter character of a blonde. And maybe if you’re drinking it fast enough, that first blush will carry you through and you’ll be OK with the beer. I didn’t drink that fast, though, and this beer exposed its weakness- it goes flat, FAST. I was barely halfway through when there was next to no carbonation left and the taste started getting staler and staler. The grain notes begin to dominate and the whole thing gets musty and rather unpleasant. You can do better.

The Bottom Line:
Contrary to the implications of this beer name, there appear to be relatively few Blondes in Bollywood.