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I am not what one would call a college basketball fan. Or a fan of basketball in general for that matter. I’ve just never had anything invested in it. I’ve never filled out a bracket, I never attended a game at UGA while I was there, and, when routinely offered $100-per-seat tickets to the Hawks, I usually respond, “Is there anyone famous on the other team? Is parking included?” I don’t dislike basketball, it’s just … meh. I do like watching college hoops with Brian, however, because he is a rabid fan and highly prone to involuntary whoops and screams throughout the game. Last night, Brian and I met at Summits to watch the Memphis-Bradley game. Brian’s a huge Memphis fan, and the guy who sits next to me at work went to Bradley, so I figured I should probably watch. That game ended up being fairly boring, but the LSU-Duke showdown on the adjacent screen was positively glorious. I don’t have specific beef with Duke, other than a hearty affinity for seeing giants tumble. Also, their fans are total dweebs. They’re actually a lot like Tech fans, except less Asian and more North Cackalacky than Atlanta.
So lucky us that we were seated next to three Duke fans, and subsequently treated to a hot bath of delicious shadenfreude as Duke proceeded to commit what I’ve read were some of the most elementary lapses in basketball fundamentals in #1 seed history. I’m no expert, but it seems to me that when the free throw shooter is the only person from his team anywhere near the paint, and he is able to get his own rebound, your team gots problems. At the end of the game, I pointed to the screen and calmly pointed out, “HOLY SHIT! REDICK IS CRYING!! BAH-HAHAHAHAHAHA!!” I saw something in the corner of my eye and looked over to see three bottom lips quivering violently. I guess I understand. when you’re not accustomed to losing, it hurts. Like 10,000 scraped knees all at once. Back to the sandbox, bitches!!
You would think, based on the pointless meandering this website has produced recently, that I haven’t had much beer lately. Well, I don’t pay you to think, son.
Last night at Summits, I asked the waitron what was new and fantastic on tap and she proceeded to rattle off the wheaty Spring seasonals, so I followed her lead and guided myself on a tour of some of their various wheat beers. Beers made with large amounts of wheat, be they Hefeweizen, Dunkelweizen, Weissbier, Witbier, or any of the American styles, have never been among my favorites, but I could be convinced otherwise. I tasted a Wheat Wine in December that was quite tasty and I hope to see a lot more from that style in the future. So, without further blah blah:
Sam Adams White Ale:
I have invested plenty of time on this website pontificating about the Boston Beer Company, so I won’t waste anymore precious bandwidth other than to say that all my previous assertations still stand. This year’s White Ale is rather dark for a White Ale (Witbier), pouring what I would describe as Pumpkin-colored. There are several readers who will remember Andy’s 1995 Mitsubishi Eclipse. Remember that color? If I’m not mistaken, it was called Durango Copper Pearl. Well, this beer looks exactly like Andy’s old car. For those of you not familiar, yes, Andy’s old car was ugly as shit. As with most wheat beers, the SA White is unfiltered and cloudy, but not opaque. At the right angle I could see the table through the bottom of the glass, if that makes any sense. Foggy, but not cloudy. SA White Ale smells spicy and slightly sour. The flavor is standard and safe. The requisite spice and citrus are there but the flavor overall is very mild. Not surprising coming form a brewery that has shareholders. I give it a 78 out of 100.
Anheuser-Busch Spring Heat Wheat:
If you think I teed this one up just so I could tee off on Anheuser-Busch, well, you’d be mostly right. I always hope that AB is going to exceed my really really low expectations, which is ultimately why I ordered this one. But they have yet to leave me pleasantly surprised, so, yes, I knew I was probably going to be writing a negative review going into it. This pale, golden creation looks about right. Like the SA White, it’s not cloudy, but foggy. I don’t know where I picked up this expectation, but I want wheat beers to be mutherfuckin’ opaque. A pint of wheat beer should look like a big orange scented candle. The Spring Heat Wheat does taste like a wheat beer, but it sure doesn’t give you very long to think about it. The flavor starts, and then it just disappears. I took a big sip, swallowed, started to process what I was tasting, and then shouted, “Hey! I was drinking that!” Trying to taste Spring Heat Wheat is like when you’re just about to sneeze and then the sneeze suddenly disappears. Over and over and over. It is clear that AB, even moreso than SA, gravely fears offending anyone with pronounced flavors, so they opt for nice, clean, and safe. Breweries + shareholders = pure evil.
Tucher Helles Hefe Weizen:
C’mon Germany. You can do it. I believe in you. Despite your archaic Reinheitsgebot, I have faith that you can make a hefeweizen that will not make me want to switch to White Zinfandel with ice cubes. The Tucher Hef is pale orange, and foggy, but not as dense as I wanted it to be. Maybe I need to adjust my expectations. I want the wheat beer to look like you could eat it with fork as a meal, and if it’s any thinner than that, I end up thinking it tastes weak no matter what it actually tastes like. HOWEVER, compared to the first two, this one tastes like 10 beers in one glass; like a ladle full of luscious grains and Earthy spices. After a big sip, I felt like I should be standing in the middle of a breezy field of grain, wearing an unbuttoned chamois shirt, with a pint of the Tucher in one hand, and some devoted maiden hanging off the other hand. And Enya playing in the background as my blonde locks flowed gently in the breeze. That imagery probably has more to do with the first two beers than the Tucher. Moving on …
I wanted to finish with the Flying Dog In Heat Wheat, because I’ve had it before and I knew flying Dog probably wouldn’t let me down, but, alas, it was already crossed off my Passport club list. The waitress ended up recommending …
Erdinger Hefe Weizen:
This was a very respectable beer, but not nearly as pronounced and complex as the Tucher. I should have had this one first and then the Tucher. The Erdinger Hef was less spicy, less grainy, and less bicuity than the Tucher, but had a nice round fruity character underneath the wheat and a big, well-developed mouthfeel.
Since rankings make everything more fun:
3. Sam Adams
It is worth noting that all of these beers came with a lemon wedge. Terrorists.