It’s Oberon Time Again
Bell’s Oberon, Bell’s Brewery Inc., Comstock, MI 49053
History: “An American wheat ale brewed with Saaz hops. Spicy and fruity, Oberon is the color and scent of a sunny afternoon.”
Well, the wondrous brew that inundates the ‘Zoo (Kalamazoo, Michigan, for those uninitiated) is officially available: Oberon has arrived. This yearly seasonal beer is a huge tradition here in my home town so much so that it’s arrival covers our own Kalamazoo Gazette’s front page. One might think slow news day, but, around here when the bleak outlook of the economy seems so never ending -especially in this state-, it’s quite a nice change to see something that makes our folks smile.
The pour is nice this time; not nearly as cloudy as last year. In fact, thinking about it, I recall going to a local pub last year and ordering an Oberon and straight from the tap it looked like a dirty pond. A bit off-putting, that. Shoving the nose in there immediately brings out orange and yeast, an aroma Bell’s Oberon is very well known for. I’ve already heard that this batch is overly citrusy, but ya know what, I’m not getting it. Oh sure, it’s there, it just isn’t as strong as I was led to believe. Funny enough, it smells like a Diner breakfast! I wish I were kidding, but I’m not: slightly orange juice meets maybe some toasted bread. This is odd, but sort of nice. And it looks just like the sun on the label: yellow-orange.
I’m using a pint glass this time as opposed to my standard Pilsner-style, but this beer just needs it, so I have to be a little more careful when I swirl it, but once that’s done I have to admit the taste is really nice. Quite mild, not the slightest bit bitter, and lovely notes of citrus rind and that aforementioned yeast and even some spice. It’s crisp, it has an interesting fruity tang at the end that hangs out much like the citrus juice it shares some flavor with. It is, unfortunately, almost too weak; dare I say dull and boring. I’m not getting a whole lot from the hops. They are there, it’s just if you’re gonna tout the very hops it’s brewed with on the label, I don’t know, maybe they ought to make more of an appearance. It is enjoyable though. And no, I do not have an orange slice with it. All in all, a tad disappointing, but none the less, a fine batch for the name. And all in all, when attempting to market a seasonal brew so popular to the fickle masses, making it more accessible is the name of the game.
Rating: * * * 1/2
Either my particular six pack is a weal fill, or this whole batch is just not quite as nice as last season.