Friday, July 11, 2008

Oxford Organic Raspberry Wheat Beer

Oxford Organic Raspberry Wheat Beer is one half of the Oxford Organic Ales line from Clipper City Brewing. The brewery has reformulated the Oxford line to be certified organic by the MD Department of Agriculture. I had the other beer in the Oxford Organic line, Oxford Class Organic Amber Ale, served from a fresh cask, at the Northern Virginia Summer BrewFest and found it quite enjoyable. I've had mixed experiences with "fruit beers" and tend to avoid them. However, I was still interested in checking out this new beer from Clipper City.

As previously noted, I had a sample of the Raspberry Wheat last week and wanted to try it again. The beer arrived on store shelves in Fredericksburg this week and I picked some up today at Kybecca. The beer is a amber-copper color, the raspberry adding red undertones. A hard pour created a half inch of pure white head that drops to a persistent ring. Raspberry is quite prevalent in the aroma. Hmm, I'm nervous. I don't like fruity beers I tell myself. However, the fruit flavor is subdued in the taste. When I had the previous sample, I noted that I might not pick this out as a fruit beer. Upon getting a larger taste of the beer, I can pick up the fruit notes better, but they're still not overpowering. The flavor also has some very mild banana notes, probably from the use of a Hefeweizen yeast. The mild fruit tartness is followed by a bit of hop bitterness in the finish.

This is a pleasant beer and one that's very refreshing on a hot day. It's light (not lite) and goes does easily. I can see enjoying this after (or while) working in the yard. I'm beginning to think that the appellation "fruit beer" is misleading. I tend to think sweet and syrupy when I think of "fruit beers". However Oxford Organic Raspberry Wheat Beer joins a few other beers I've had, such as Dogfish Head Aprihop, that use fruit to enhance, not change, the flavors in the beer. My favorite beers from Clipper City remain their Heavy Seas line, however the Oxford Organic line adds some moderation to the brewery's lineup by presenting refreshing, balanced beers for those times when big beers aren't warranted.

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