In case you somehow missed it, the New Belgium Brewing Company is a McBone favorite. That their products are gradually creeping east of the Mississippi is good news for those who have never experienced the fine line of brews from the good folks toiling away daily in Fort Collins, CO. Yes, there is much to be said for successful, small scale breweries with limited distribution, but a brewery as dynamic and as fine as New Belgium, one with a philosophy that stretches beyond moving as many units as possible, deserves far flung success.
I was on the verge of selecting one of my preferred varieties when I spied, crammed unceremoniously into the bottom shelf at my local bottle shoppe, one I had yet to try: Mothership Wit. The brew advertises itself on a vaguely seventies-looking label as an 'organic wheat beer brewed with spices.' I loved the name immediately and how it conjures both the inevitable future when alien overlords descend from their mothership to visit doom upon our pathetic blue planet, and the past, when honest-to-goodness Belgians began crafting the wit or 'white' or 'wheat' ales that would become a hallmark of Belgian brewing in the middle ages ('dark' ages indeed!). McBone is 100% totally pro organic, but I was already willing to exchange nine of my hard earned dollars for a sixer and give 'er, as the kids say, 'a go.'
Let me preface this with an embarrassing admission: Belgian wit beer is not my favorite style, particularly those brewed up on this side of the Atlantic. Too often they are infused with so much spice that they become obnoxious and cloying, so that my palate is tired by the time the bottle is empty. But that's my issue, and, since New Belgium has my complete trust, it was with a feeling not unlike love that I popped the cap off my first Mothership.
Big score immediately for the ample layer of yeast sitting on the bottom of the bottle, worthy of one McBone right there, and props for illustrating on the label how to get every last little yeast cell into your glass. The pour produces a slightly creamy head that vanishes quickly, leaving behind a cloudy mugful of the palest golden hue. A nasal inhalation detects the expected citrusy/spicy notes. Then comes an aggressive gulp and swallow and drumroll please...
Now, I'm not saying you should renounce the name New Belgium and replace it with New Milwaukee, but honestly ladies and gentleman, you can do better by the Old World. Yes, there is lemon and orange zest. Coriander? Not much. These are the standard flavors of a wit, and as a wit, this is a substandard entry. I know that I was just griping about overzealous witmakers, but give me a little more than this, Mothership! The taste is clean, brisk and refreshing. That's great. The beer was made with the best intentions to be sure, but my overarching evaluation would have to be, and it pains me to say it, watery. Then again, I'm reaching for another bottle right now, so maybe don't listen to me when it comes to wits. 3.0 McBones