Bell's Oarsman ale last May, I was not expecting heaps of flavor from a little 4% ABV session ale. Something nice, yes, something drinkable, sure, but not something packed with goodness.
Not only was I wrong, I also fell in love with the beer, so much so that I asked my friend and writing collaborator Jim McDevitt to bring me a case of it the next time he visited. (Bell's beer is sadly not available in my state.)
When it comes to summer beers, few are more perfect than this. Oarsman Ale is based on the Berliner Weisse style, a German classic few American brewers make. The style is typically very, very sour, so sour that in Germany it's served with a side glass of sweetened syrup intended to be poured into the beer. Bell's beer has prominent tartness -- if you don't like sour or tart candies and food you'll hate this -- but it's not nearly as sour as a traditional Berliner Weisse.
What it is, is refreshing as hell.
The aroma features a bit of fruitiness and a distinct tartness that is unmistakable. The taste follows suit. It's zippy, refreshing, fruity, tart, and utterly perfect for hot summer days. Frickin' delicious. Coming in at a dainty little 4%
ABV, you don't expect much, but this is an outstanding session beer and is now among my favorites.
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