Monday, January 21, 2013

Three Floyds Gumballhead Wheat Beer review

Three Floyds GumballheadGetting an opportunity to try a Three Floyds beer here in Colorado is a rare event, so I couldn't pass up the opportunity to try their Three Floyds Gumballhead Wheat Beer when the opportunity arose. I've had opportunities to try Three Floyds before, both at an Indiana beer festival and also at the Great American Beer Festival. This beer came from a reader who thought I'd like to try it. Heck ya!

Gumballhead is an American Wheat Ale that is now brewed year-round by Three Floyds of Munster, Indiana. It used to be a Summer seasonal, but demand for it was so big they decided to make it year-round. And judging from the marks its been given on the beer rating sites, this was going to be a good beer. The label is rather odd, patterned after a comic strip and reminds me a bit of the artwork on a Flying Dog beer.

Three Floyds Gumballhead weighs in around 5.6% ABV and has a fairly big 35 IBUs, which is higher than average for wheat beers. The IBUs come from a solid dose of Amarillo hops, which homebrewers know are hard to get. I've been looking for an excuse to use my new Weizen glass and this was the prime opportunity for it.

Appearance:Gumballhead poured a cloudy light golden color with a bright white head. The head was foamy big and there was a nice gentle lacing that clung to the glass. There was an adequate level of carbonation and had no visible sediment from the bottle.

Aroma: Here is where the Amarillo takes center stage. The hop aroma mixed with the wheat malt was amazing. There was plenty of lemon in the nose seemingly mixed in with other fruity and floral smells. Gone was the usual wheat & yeast aroma. From the name I thought to expect a gumball-like aroma, but no. There were light wheat malt aroma mixed in with a fruit cocktail. Three Floyds stated on their web site that you might pick up some peach and marmalade. Not sure if that's what I got, but I do know the overall scent was very unique and highly pleasant.

Gumballhead packagingTaste: I chose to start out drinking this wheat beer very cold and slow. The brew itself started off with a slightly bitter and mild wheat taste. The texture was creamy for a wheat beer. Medium bodied and very smooth going down too. It was slightly sweet, yet stopped way short of being cloying and had ample amount of hop bitterness to counter. There was no aftertaste at all, just pure wheat beer goodness, a hint of citrus, nicely bitter too. This was indeed one of the best wheat beers I've ever tried. I'm a big fan of Amarillo, and it's no wonder you can't get any of that hop in stores (so I'm told).

Overall: Three Floyds doesn't ever play it safe with their beers and I can see why they are highly rated by the craft beer community. Out of a 1 to 10 scale (10 being best) - this beer has to come close to a 9 for me. Dang near perfect and one of the best wheat beers I've tried to date. Add that to their stellar Dark Lord Imperial Stout and Zombie Dust IPA. I'm glad I have a second bottle of Gumballhead to enjoy later. The Spiegelau weizen glass did wonders for this beer also. Top notch - too bad it's not available for sale here in Colorado. I had mine driven here.

Disclosure: This beer was given to me by a reader, Dave Armstrong, from Iowa via a friend of the family. Thanks Dave for the beer - solid choice!

Related articles:
- Bristol Brewing Beehive Honey Wheat review.
- Boulevard Unfiltered Wheat Beer review.
- Dry Dock Hefeweizen review.

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