American-style wheat beers had become relatively insignificant to me as I delved deeper into the craft beer world. I would often run into watery, flavorless, trivial American-wheat beers still wanting to give them a fair shake and then after trying, realizing why I should avoid them. I started my love of craft beer drinking Boulevard Wheat and I will still go back to that beer, it is maybe one of the most popular American wheats out there and a great stepping stone from the Buds, Coors, and Millers, have the world into the realm of craft beer. That all changed on a Saturday in Chicago, IL.
My wife’s family had a weekend planned in the Windy City and since my Dodgers were in town to face the Cubs it was the perfect opportunity to take the kids to a ball game. Beautiful weather, a couple of beers, the smell of stale piss, and hot dogs, made for a great day. Towards the end of the game my brother-in-law, Clem, asked if I would be interested in hitting a few bars around Wrigleyville. He was familiar with the area, and I wasn’t, so we got the ok from the rest of the family and started our wonderful beer journey. We hit up Goose Island and then went to what is known as an Iowa bar?, Merkles (www.merkleschicago.com). Seeing a sign advertising $3 draws of Dogfish Head Aprihop made it a relatively easy decision. Anyway……. after a few Aprihops I decided to try Gumballhead, this was before 3 Floyds blew up as a brewery, and I was blown away by it! Calling it an American-wheat is kind of misleading as this beer packs a pretty amazing hop punch, not much wheat present in this beer, maybe a bit on the palate at the end of the beer, but I don’t care, this a very drinkable, thirst quenching, brew. From the brewery:
An American Wheat Beer brewed with red wheat and boat loads of amarillo hops gives this summer brew a lemony finish. The slight haze in the bottle is from the bottle-conditioning, where yeast is added to the bottle for a secondary fermentation. Gumballhead is a Skingraft Comics hero. Check out Skingraft Comics and Records at http://www.skingraftrecords.com. Cheers!
I realize I brag up 3 Floyds a lot on this blog, but I think it is totally justifiable by the product they put out. Nothing is half-assed, just full-out great beer. If you haven’t tried their products yet, buy whatever you can and just appreciate the fact that you can get your hands on their products because they are one of, if not, the best thing going today.
Style: American Wheat
Purchased at: Merkle’s bar, but now head to Madison or Chicago or just go to Munster, IN.
Pour: Cloudy yellow pour with a thick white head.
Aroma: Citrus hops stand out.
Flavor: Citrus hops stand out, a tad bitter but mellowed by the malt. Not much wheat flavor.
Ratebeer.com rating: 98/100
Beeradvocate.com rating: 94/100
My recommendation: Like I said above, buy any and all 3 F’s products.