Beer Review 0128: SweetWater Blue

While in college at the University of Colorado, roommates Freddy Bensch and Kevin McNerny decided they liked beer more than school, so the two took jobs at a local brewery, washing kegs in exchange for free beer. Little did they know they’d end up in Atlanta, Georgia, location of their very own SweetWater Brewing Company.

The two did finish school, but they went back to school — this time at the American Brewers Guild in California. They took, what else: Fermentation Science.

Today, SweetWater is a force in the craft beer world. I’ve only rated one SweetWater beer thus far — their IPA, which I awarded 91 points. Today’s beer is called Blue, and is a fruit beer brewed with “natural blueberry flavor” — what that means, I’m not sure. I’m taking it that real blueberries are used at some point in the brewing process.

One of the unique things about SweetWater is their penchant for freshness. SweetWater beer is unpasteurized and they say if it’s more than 90 days old, don’t drink it. There’s a space on the bottle for the best by date, but this particular bottle has nothing in that slot. So what good is it to be anal about freshness, if you’re not going to put the date on the bottle? Sigh. We appreciate their efforts, though, because some beer is noticeably better at its freshest. Just remember to put the damn date on the bottle!

The pour produced a small and quickly fading head atop a golden yellow beer, not quite straw macro lager in color, but close. The body was clear and free of particles or sediment, and the drink left behind no lacing. Bubbles zoomed to the top all throughout drinking.

The aromatics were big time blueberry, and this one smelled very much like a blueberry muffin, with a slight straw/wheat backend. The blueberry bordered on artificial, because it was so incredibly sweet. Perhaps I was expecting something just a bit more tart, but I wasn’t offended by the smell, yet I wasn’t turned on by it, either…

Tasting revealed a very thin and light beer, grainy up front before giving up a lightly sweetened blueberry. The finish reminded me much of a lager, with a cleansing of the palate, a touch of a carbonation bite, and then…it’s gone. This one is quite refreshing but there’s honestly not much here to enjoy. I will say that the blueberry was very nice, and not at all artificial like the aroma borders on.

It’s hard for me to rate a beer like this. Since I like beers with much more flavor, when I get one like SweetWater Blue, I have to keep in mind that this is meant to be refreshing and light, which is a tough thing to do when you’ve had some powerhouse beers that leave you thinking about them days later. That being said, while I doubt I would return to this, I wouldn’t turn it down if someone offered it to me, and I did drink it alarmingly fast (like in 15 minutes) so I must have found something fairly enjoyable about it.

SweetWater Blue, 76 points. Price: $9.99 US for a six pack.

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