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Saugatuck Starburst Wheat

Style: Hoppy Wheat Beer
ABV: 4.5%
Glassware: Nonic Pint

Appearance: Another hazy wheat beer sits before me. The head is one inch thick and is off white in color with just a touch of yellow. The beer itself is an orange forward light amber.

Aroma: This fills my nostrils with a chalky and mineral quality, as well as light banana, grainy malt, light lemon esters, melon and a very light acidic character.

Flavor: Doughy malt, chalky, bitter hops with a nice earthy and grassy flavor. I am interpreting the esters from the yeast as being grape, a little strawberry and melon.

Mouthfeel: Medium to high carbonation levels. Effervescent and medium bodied on the tongue, it has a relatively robust overall mouthfeel for a wheat beer, primarily because of the more highly hopped character than one would find in a traditional wheat beer.

Aftertaste: Mild hop bitterness and chalky wheat flavor. I detect those grassy and tropical fruit forward hops, as well as light banana esters before it settles into its lingering finish of bitter hoppiness.

Currently Enjoying With: No food is in front of me unfortunately. What I would recommend though is any traditional American sandwich. It’s a strange combination, putting together hoppy notes and complicated wheat yeast, but use that wheat beer quality to cut your food and meld itself with a variety of sandwich options. The hops also have cutting power and should be utilized as well.

Think medium intensity meaty sandwiches that have mild savory and fatty flavors. You can also stack up on veggies and sauces, which will play nicely with the fruit forward and grassy hops as well as the fruit from the yeast. Right now I am thinking of eating a cranberry chicken salad sandwich with this beer. The creaminess of the meal and the savory chicken could be cut using the strong yeast and the bitterness. The cranberry from the food would talk to the esters in our beer and the tropical notes from our hops. The bread would work nicely with the very subtle bready malt character in our beer.

Overall: A sessionable beer for those of us who can’t decide between being a hop head or slugging down a yeasty and effervescent brew. This is a relatively new concept and I’m learning to navigate myself with these hoppy wheat beers, but I find this to be a decent example of one. I look forward to learning more about pairing with this kind of beer and to drinking more on late summer days with friends.