Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Quick Take: Three Floyds Gumballhead

Clark's Ale House continues to be the class of downtown Syracuse. While the Empire Brewing Company still awaits its liquor license, and the Blue Tusk becomes some sort of discotheque after 8pm, Clark's remains consistent: no loud music, no TVs, Trivia on Wednesdays, good rotation of beers.

One beverage we had not anticipated seeing there several weeks ago was the Three Floyd's Gumballhead American Pale Wheat Ale. We had heard of Three Floyds Brewing Company in Munster, Indiana through the grapevine, and generally rates most of their beers very high for style. A Pale wheat ale? This sounds like it would be some sort of unclassifiable Hefeweizen or Pale Ale with wheat thrown in. What we found was a truly unique drinking experience.

First of all, this is a very very hoppy beverage. It's like a great India Pale Ale, with bitter, flowery hops and that little bite on the way down. But it does not make a fetish out of the hops, or flaunt them, or simply over-hop for hopses sake. It's the perfect dry IPA upon the first sip. But then something happens. Something unusual.

There really is a "gumball" flavor at the swallow. The aftertaste becomes a sweet -- but not too sweet -- candy like flavor. Like a dry candy, say a bubble-gum flavored sweet tart. It's the perfect counterpoint to the bitterness of the first sip. In this way Gumballhead reminded me a bit of Leinenkugel's Sunset Wheat, with the latter having a very pronounced orange sherbet taste. But Gumballhead proves to be far superior given the understated nature of the gumball taste, as well as the care that all Three of the Floyds took with the hops.

If you see it on a beer menu in the Northeast, get it.

1 comment:

Willie Moe said...

Aroma? Yes.
Color? Yes.
Taste? Yes.