New Heights "Hello My Name Is Earl Grey" Belgian Blonde

Earl Grey seems like an odd choice. I've had limited exposure to teas in general, and I know that one of the ones that is really full of personality is Earl Grey. It's not for everyone. Even the people I know who like to drink tea tend to stay away from it pretty hard. But, as an ingredient in a beer, it just might work out, right? I mean water is pretty tasteless and bland, but it makes the base for even the best beers.

The appropriately named blonde ale has a yellow-gold color with a thin white head that leaves little more than a dusting in a single pad in the middle of the glass. A microscope would be necessary to find any points of nucleation in the depths of the glass. The aroma is solidly blonde with the sweet malt and an indefinable tanginess with that tea riding the wave.

First sip is daunting. The tea doesn't seem to be mixing well with the beer, so the malt mixing with the hops mixing with the Earl Grey is resulting in a funk that is too overwhelming for a sip. I like my sips to be bold, but I like them manageable. This one need a swift kick in the pants to get back into line. Maybe the swig will improve matters.

Tip-in is sweet with an almost raspberry quality as the tea makes a very nice bed to lay it down on. The middle comes with sweet malt, grains, some Belgian yeast, and the tea is nice and subtle with a dryness permeating everything. Finish is a hit of bitter, a whiff of funk, and a crisp snap as the grains let wheat and corn trail off.

Bottom Line: Serviceable yet unapproachable.



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