i'm writing this review while my students are taking their final exam. as a teacher, i love this time of year. all the major work is behind me, all the major stretches of summer lay before me. and summer time in texas definitely calls for lighter beers. and this summer, i'm addicted to blondes.
blonde ales are closely related to the german kolsch style ale, but blonde ales do not feature the sharper, grassier flavors of the kolsch. from what i understand, blondes are a relatively light version of typical belgium ales: malty, but bright; fruity, featuring a bit of banana, but not overly sweet, still tinged in caramel; golden, airy, light and (hopefully) balanced delicately between complex and refreshing.
one thing i do know is that i've fallen in love with blonde ales this past year. and for some reason we have a growing list of the belgium style blondes popping up all over america:
- Real Ale's Fireman's 4
- Shiner Blonde Ale
- Southern Star's Bombshell Blonde
- Rahr Blonde Lager
- New Belgium's Skinny Dip
- Boulder Beer's Buffalo Gold
- Bridgeport Brewing's Haymaker Golden Ale
- O'Fallon's O'Fallon Gold
these are the blonde ales i've tried. and these are all beers i would gladly lay down the price of admission to take home, pour in glass, and behold over a backgammon board or a maud casey book on the back porch. i do enjoy this style of beer because blondes, when done well, have an odd way of putting the palette through plenty of calisthenics while still turning the day's volume down to a fine line of nada.
and then this here Leffe (6.6% ABV), from way over there in belgium, shows up all over town. i like this beer. in fact, this might be my favorite of the blondes, which probably makes sense since Leffe is the ideal Blonde Ale. these other blondes, the ones listed above, are working to match an ale similar to Leffe. Leffe is to blonde ales what lovecraft is to weird tales, what romero is to zombie films, what the ramones are to punk, what marmaduke is to great danes.
over the next couple of weeks, i'll try to feature a few more blonde ales, particularly those from the texas region. although i've mentioned them briefly before, this is a new season. and i'm always stoked to try old favorites again.