Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Crazy Mountain Lava Lake Wit review

Crazy Mountain Lava Lake WitFrom the mountain, to the valley, to the beer glass white with foam... Crazy Mountain has begun distributing their beers state-wide as of Summer 2012 and one of their canned brews is their Crazy Mountain Lava Lake Wit. This is a Belgian-style Witbier and is distributed exclusively in cans and kegs in Colorado. I spied three different styles of 6-packs at my local store and thought that this witbier would make a good Summer session beer. I had to go out and mow my lawn on a hot evening and wanted to drink it after I was done.

Crazy Mountain Brewing Company of Edwards, Colorado wanted to make this witbier a bit unique, so once they added a rare Belgian yeast, some coriander and curacao orange peel, they also added in some chamomile, grains of paradise and packaged it in a can to keep it all fresh. They brewed this beer with un-malted weat, rolled oats and two varieties of classic European hops as well.

Lava Lake Wit weighed in at around 5.2% ABV, a bit on the high end for a summer session brew. It is mildly bittered at around 15 IBU from a dash of Kent Goldings and Saaz hops. Crazy Mountain donates 1% of the proceeds from this beer to benefit the Eagle River Watershed Council, helping to keep that area clean and healthy for the benefit of people, wildlife and the area.

Appearance: The last time I used this glass I got a huge head that overflowed so I ended up pouring this beer a bit more cautiously, but halfway through the pour I wasn't getting any head build-up so I poured more aggressively at the end. Still, that head there was only measured up to a tiny amount and that quickly dissolved away. Swirling the beer only brought a slight white topping to the surface of the beer. The color of this beer in a bright light seemed to be a dazzling yellow and seemed to have near perfect clarity. This beer looked like summertime in a glass.

(Follow-up: The next can I opened I used a much more aggressive pour and I got a nice 1" head to appear. If you want a bit of foam on top don't be gentle on the pour.)

Aroma: This beer had a unique Belgian yeast aroma that wasn't like the typical bubble-gum or banana that I usually get in a witbier. I could pick up on the spices in the nose right away. The orange peel gave off a sweet scent and I could pick up a bit of summer grasses in the nose as well. The beer smelled very fresh and appealing.

Taste: Lake Lake Wit was a light to medium-light bodied lightly carbonated beer that started out semi-sweet and then filled in with the coriander and chamomile with a hint of bitterness. This beer was "wet" tasting, that is, it wasn't drying at all and kept my mouth watering the entire way. This was an easy drinking beer and went down easily. The good thing about this witbier was that the spices didn't overpower the flavor. They were present and noticeable, but they didn't define the entire taste of this beer. The sweet malts and low bitterness created a drink that felt great after a hot lawn mowing session.

Overall: It's hard to put a score on this beer. It didn't have a big bold flavor like some Belgian wit beers I've had (like an Avery White Rascal) and was more than a watery beer. It had some good flavor, but it wasn't anything remarkable other than it tasted good on a hot day. I think for what I was after on a day like today - this beer was enough. I don't know if I would have liked this as much on an average day without working up a sweat.

Still, this is a quality product that seems well made and with a good balance of spice, malt and hops. This is probably why some of the beer rating sites gave this an average rating. I can see their point. Still, if what you want is a nice summer-time flavored brew with a hint of sweet and spice, then you can't go wrong with this beer. I'll look forward to finishing this six-pack.

Disclosure: I paid full retail price for this beer.

Video showing the pour of Crazy Mountain Lava Lake Wit:

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- Crazy Mountain Brewing to be distributed state-wide in Colorado.

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