up in Menomonie have a generally good reputation as near as I can tell and I found myself intrigued by Hips Don't Lie, a weissbier with honey and rose hips. This, their first German-style brew to my knowledge, sounded like a good combination of flavors. I found myself in Eau Claire recently and purchased a six-pack at the Just Local
food co-op which had what I thought of as being very reasonable beer prices and a nice selection of brews from the northern part of our fair state.
Hips Don't Lie pours a beautiful gold and is clear making it a kristallweizen. There was a goodly amount of bubbles in my glass making their way up. I got a nice fluffy head which lasted a fair amount of time. The smell was wonderful. I caught mostly that wonderful estery banana goodness but I also discerned a bit of phenol in there with a moderate bit of close in there. The aroma also had an earthy sweetness which I presume comes from the honey as well as a faint floral aspect which was probably the rose hips peeking through. My experience with rose hips comes mostly from jelly which means I am no expert.
The taste is mostly like you'd expect from a weissbier. I found those banana esters to very prominent and really couldn't taste the more clove-like elements which were present in the aroma. The honey was easy to taste and added a mellow sweetness which complemented the fruity aspect of the bier plus the carbonation gave it a slight dryness that made a nice foil to all the fruitiness. All of this came in a brew that had a medium-light mouthfeel. It was very tasty and refreshing up to this point. Things took a turn for the worse as the beer made its way back on my tongue. An off taste began as an overdose of noble hops but quickly became a very prominent astringent taste took over as we neared the finish. It's was a bit like the taste of very cheap, very potent hooch. I presume the flavor came from fusel alcohols. Whatever they were, this taste ruined the whole beer. It finished with a bit of dryness, a bit of lingering banana, some of the floral essence first encountered in the nose, and astringency.
What a disappointment. Had the astringent flavor not been present, it would have been a wonderful bier. Hips Don't Lie is 6.2% ABV, which is a bit high, but it's fall so I can't complain. It's fairly intense banana flavor melded with the honey very well and the rose hips made a pleasant addition to the aroma and finish. Unfortunately, the off flavor consigned this bier to the drain.
Junk food pairing: If you can look past the paint stripper flavor, then pair Hips Don't Lie with Snyder's Buttermilk Ranch pretzel pieces.
Labels: Beer, Hefeweizen, Lucette Brewing Company, Weissbier