11 August 2007

Ithaca Excelsior! White Gold (NY)

Having just tried an Ithaca 12-pack, I figured I'd dip into their Excelsior! premium series. This is described as a Strong Pale Wheat Ale. You can read the brewer's notes here. "Excelsior" is the motto of New York State, perhaps inspired by Longfellow:

There in the twilight cold and gray,
Lifeless, but beautiful, he lay,
And from the sky, serene and far,
A voice fell, like a falling star, Excelsior!

More to the point, from the bottle:

Enjoy the glowing opaque appearance, aromas of spice and herbs, zesty mouthfeel, and dry finish.

All of this is true. The beer pours a hazy yellow out of the 750 ml wine bottle (but with cap, not cork). The word "citrusy" should probably been included above. Taste-wise, this beer hit all parts of my mouth: a bit of lemon or orange, some spices, and a dry finish. The body is medium with a fair amount of fizz to it. I couldn't really feel the full 8% ABV while drinking, but it hit me afterward. I bought this thinking it would be suitable for summer, but hot weather + high alcohol = nap time for me.

This is a good beer, but probably not worth the $8-9 for the utilitarian consumer. I suspect people would say I bought the wrong Excelsior. I also have the Belgian IPA from the series sitting in my cellar; the other two are a coffee doppelbock and a rye barleywine. Whether this is a complete success or not, I am glad Ithaca is producing high-end brews, and admire them admire for taking chances with styles.

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