One of my favorite breweries from the 2015 VA Craft Brewers Fest was Beer Hound, and it was as much the “newness” of a spot I hadn’t had a chance to check out as well as the welcoming attitude of their crew. We talked bachelor parties, small town culture, and even heavy metal music before the slightest mention of beer. I was more a fan of their Teufelhunde, which took home our runner-up for our Stretchy Pants award for most drinkable. A full pint of their other beer from VCBF shows that you can never really trust a sip or a taster to really appreciate a beer, and it shot to the top of my list of favorites for this year as a result of the bomber I snagged this past weekend. It’s also perfect for our current summer blitz!
Olde Yella, Beer Hound Brewery (Culpeper, VA)
American Pale Wheat Ale, 6.1% ABV, 42 IBU
Presentation: Bomber pour into tuliped pint glass.
Appearance: Deep goldenrod with a pale straw base and some mild haziness. Mild head dissipating rapidly and a pretense of lattice that drains rather than sticks to the glass.
Taste: A lot of wheat and yeast on the nose along with a touch of butteriness which was quite surprising. There’s another aroma there, not quite fruit but not quite herbal as well, and with a gun to my head I’d say something like an apricot marmelade (which I can only describe because my half-British wife eats it all. the. time.) The body is actually quite creamy, with lots of bread notes (think Martin’s Potato Rolls, almost!) You get a tiny bit of resin after a few sips, but it’s hard to call the finish truly bitter. It’s a delicious beer that’s smooth, refreshing, and thirst quenching even.
Mouth Feel: We mentioned the creaminess already, but what’s truly shocking is not being able to place a lot of bitterness except a small portion of the middle of the tongue. It’s an incredibly smooth beer which belies the slightly elevated ABV and IBUs.
Overall: This beer really did deserve its 2015 VCBF Gold Medal. Whether you want to call it an “American Light Ale” or something else is entirely your prerogative; it’s just a damn fine beer. It’s beer that also evolves as it comes back towards room temperature, with those bready flavors really coming to the forefront in a way which is really quite enjoyable without it totally dominating the rest of the profile. I have several Virginia beer-related regrets before my year-long Kansas sojourn starts, and not making it down to Beer Hound is one of them. That said, finding such a stellar beer in distro is evidence that good beers can eventually find their way to you. If you’re down near the 757, 434, or 804 you’ll have slightly higher odds of finding a bomber, but regardless be on the lookout. Olde Yella is one beer you need to have on hand before the dog days of Summer hit…which, if you haven’t noticed with triple digits in much of the Commonwealth this week, is right now!