Fearful Symmetries

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05 August, 2015

A Scandal in Arena: Blue Peter by Lake Louie Brewing

There have been quite a few changes at Lake Louie these past several months. Coon Rock Cream Ale became Golden Booty and a slew of new brews were introduced in a trio of equally new series – the Dark Shadows, the Hop-A-Louie, and the Session. From my perspective most of the publicity has gone to the three new IPAs with some attention given to The Twins, a new seasonal Maibock, as it was the center of a minor brouhaha during Madison Craft Beer Week where it was featured at an event hosted at the Silk Exotic strip club. Less attention has been given to Blue Peter, another new beer which happens to be an Export or Dortmunder or Dortmunder Export, whichever term you prefer.

The Dortmunder arose, quelle surprise, in Dortmund, a city in west central Germany that was in the middle of the German industrial heartland where coal mining and steel mills ruled the day. It seems that the miners and millworkers in the 1880s took to a heartier brew to satisfy their thirst. The Dortmunder is a pale lager that sits between the pils and the helles. It's less hoppy than a pilsner but more so than a helles. It also has more malt sweetness than either style making for a slightly bigger beer. The style was extremely popular in Germany until the 1970s when the pilsner won out. It was also fairly big here in the States as I recall DAB ads here and I do believe that I saw TV commercials as well.

Blue Peter pours a beauty of a light gold, eh. It is clear and very effervescent. As you can see, I got a big, fluffy white head that had some staying power. If you look at the photo I think you can tell that the bubbles are rather large. I noticed that, anyway. They just seemed to be larger in diameter than your average bubble. There were also lots of bubbles in the beer working their way up.

My proboscis initially caught some fine cracker-grain aroma but this was followed by a sweeter malt scent that was reminiscent of apricot. There was also a bit of mild grassy hop to be had. The taste mirrored the aroma for the most part with that graininess goodness sharing the stage with a sweeter malt flavor that was less fruity here than in the nose and more doughy. I found that the hops tasted a bit more herbal than they smelled. The rather faint hoppy aroma belied just how prominent they'd be on the tongue. There was a clear herbal bitterness to be tasted. Not as bumptious as an American pale ale but rather about the same as a Czech pilsner which is probably not to style. Lake Louie's website indicates Blue Peter has a scandalous 45 I.B.U.s which is surely more characteristic of a Bohemian-style brew. The goodly amount of carbonation here accentuates the hop bitterness.

Blue Peter has a nice lagery clean and dry finish wherein the bready malt sweetness gives way to spicy/herbal hop bitterness. I'll also note that I didn't get much Schaumhaftvermoegen as most of the foam simply slid down the side of the glass.

I'll be the first to admit that I'm no Dortmunder Export expert. American microbrewers don't exactly flock to the style although Great Lakes' Dortmunder Goldis a notable exception. (Does anyone remember The Malt House's deals on Fauerbach Export? Ooh, I drank a lot of that stuff.) From what I can glean from various websites, Blue Peter seems mostly true to style with additional hop bitterness being the main, if not only, deviation from the norm.

But this is not a hanging offense. The extra malt here keeps the hops from getting out of line. The beer's medium body and 5.8% A.B.V. prevents it from being, to my mind, a real summer tippler. But, then again, my vocation involves sitting behind a desk and no physical labor. Three cheers to Tom Porter for brewing a rather neglected style and for brewing it well.

Junk food pairing: The extra hops in Blue Peter means it pairs well with the grease and salt of deep fried cheese curds. Skip the ranch dipping sauce and go for bleu cheese dressing and drown yourself in Dortmunder dairy gluttony.

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|| Palmer, 6:57 PM


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