Bell’s Oberon

Bell’s Brewery, Comstock, Michigan
Oberon Ale
American Wheat Ale
5.8% ABV
25 oz. draught in a massive stein

Mid-May in Michigan: It was 45 degrees. The rain was pouring. The fire in Sidetracks was roaring and we were pleased to be sitting near it. The menu suggested I pair a hefty stout with my blue cheese and bacon smothered burger. To spite the gods of seasons and menus, I instead ordered Michigan’s favorite summer beer, purely for the sake of reviewing it: none other than a 25 oz. draught of Bell’s Oberon. Yes, 25 ounces.

Oberon has a cult following in Michigan. I once happily drank it (regularly) before I started caring about the the way beer tastes. Around Ann Arbor it’s proudly displayed at every yuppie natural food store alongside a large display of oranges. The orange in my monster draught tonight was commensurate in size with the glass. I carefully removed it, fearful that it would fall in and overflow my beer.

I sniffed and sniffed, but smelled nothing more than the orange-y residue on the glass rim. The taste was hardly more exciting. Like most cold, carbonated alcoholic beverages (NOTE: not including “Sparks“), this would certainly be refreshing on a hot summer day. As the beer warmed it became more interesting, and hidden bread smells revealed themselves. It distinguished itself from MGD in a few marked ways: its opacity, breadiness, creamy mouth-feel, and very distinctly metallic finish. I compared the finish to sucking on a penny. Perry corrected that it’s more like a wheat penny. I don’t know what a wheat penny is, but apparently Perry has a collection of them in North Carolina. They are something like Buffalo nickels, according to Perry.

If it sounds like I’m not saying much about the beer, it’s because I was quite distracted. The smell of Perry’s Founder’s Red’s Rye P.A. drifted my way alluringly. The mere image of Piraat on the coaster beneath my massive stein didn’t help either. The occasional Amtrak train rushing past our table also broke my concentration.

I tried to focus on the beer’s “wheatiness”:

Nina: I don’t detect the strong banana esters I expect from a wheat beer.
Perry: That’s because it’s not a wheat beer.
Nina: What? Yes it is.
Perry: No it’s not.
Nina: *blinking in horrified disbelief*
Perry: Calling Oberon a “wheat beer” is like calling Crocs “sandals”. It lends Crocs a dignity they don’t deserve.

~ by nininja on May 12, 2010.

8 Responses to “Bell’s Oberon”

  1. I wear Crocs *and* drink Oberon! Sometimes I even wear Crocs *while* drinking Oberon!! 😉

    • Do you have socks like those, too? It can be hard to find bald eagle motifs that don’t clash with the Crocs.

  2. Also, I didn’t realize that those pennies had a special name.

  3. In my brief time here I have noticed that many people fall victim to a sort of collective brainwashing when it comes to certain local items. It’s a happy, joyous sort of brainwashing (not must rob bank and kill sort) and I really really try to understand but can not. My prime two examples are Oberon beer and Washtenaw Dairy Ice Cream. Please don’t hate me Arborites but I really can’t get down with any ice cream now matter how local, quaint and 1930’s it is if it has an ingredient list that’s a paragraph long.

    • With flavors like “RED-WHITE-BLUE POP ROCKS—Red, White, and Blue ice cream loaded with pop rock candies”, Washtenaw Dairy shows its true colors. Anything with fewer ingredients would be unpatriotic.

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