Name: Oberon Ale
Brewing Company: Bell’s Brewery
Location: Galesburg, MI
Style: Pale Wheat Ale
From the beer’s description on Bell’s Brewery’s Web site:
There are Summer Beers and there are beers best suited to summer or associated with Summer. Bell’s Oberon Ale is one of the latter and one of the iconic craft beers in the industry. Oberon is the medieval Faerie King and is Consort of Queen Titania in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream which is (I’m assuming) where the fine folks of Bell’s Brewery drew the name for this light, delicious beer.
Some of my friends on untappd check this in throughout the summer months and I’ve been trying to get myself a bottle/can/pour of the beer for quite a while. Unfortunately for the New Jersey Craft Beer community, Bell’s isn’t yet distributed in New Jersey. Fortunately for me, a co-worker/friend who lives in Pennsylvania, where Bell’s is distributed, did a bottle-share with me and gave me two bottles.
The first thing that stands out to me is the color of the beer. Where the summer beers I’m accustomed to drinking pour a hazy yellow, Oberon pours more of an orange-yellow, a very inviting beer on looks alone but there’s not too much different in the aroma compared to other pale wheat ales like Sam’s Summer.
What is most striking in the flavor profile of the beer is the kick of spice towards the end of the beer. Not quite clove like a Hefeweizen, not quite the characteristic finish other Pale Wheat Ales, but something of its own almost-citrusy design. The bright color and bold spice set this one apart from most other summer beers. I can now see why this is such a landmark beer in the craft beer community. While not flashy like a high ABV bourbon barrel aged stout, or super hoppy like a New England IPA, Oberon Ale is a straight-forward, thirst-quenching beer that is very welcoming in color, balanced in taste, and low-enough in ABV that a couple of these won’t get you too silly.
My only complaint about this beer is one I will re-iterate: Bell’s doesn’t distribute into NJ. Over the past year or two, we’ve seen some of the larger craft breweries enter the NJ market like New Belgium, so hopefully Bell’s is on the way to the Garden State.
Recommended, link to Untappd 4-star rating.
(The book in the background is Staked by Kevin Hearne, the eighth book in his Iron Druid Chronicles series, which features a 2,000-year old Druid named Atticus who comes into conflict with all sorts of supernatural creatures. As fate would have it, my coworker gave me the bottles of Oberon while I was reading this book. The series features an Irish Wolfhound named Oberon as Atticuss’s best friend and companion. Obviously if I’ve made it to book 8 in the series I enjoy the books a great deal, so check out the first one, Hounded if you so choose.)