04 April 2009

Coney Island Albino Python (NY)

Some craft breweries don't even bother with lagers. Shmaltz has a whole specialty line of them. Albino Python (with its slightly salacious label art) is a singular beer: a "white lager brewed with spices," a witbier brewed with lager yeast. Who else brews one of those?

The lager yeast is bound to make a difference, but on top of that, Shmaltz uses an atypical blend of spices: ginger, crushed fennel and orange peel. No coriander? And how many other beers use fennel? (Although fennel is licoricey like anise, which isn't completely unusual in beer.) To me, the spices definitely dominate any citrus fruit elements, and I'll definitely believe it's ginger and fennel. There isn't much malty backbone here, and the hops aren't bitter, but instead appear to add a somewhat rough and dry finish. It's crisp, and would work well with grilled chicken or fish or something like that.

Albino Python is, first and foremost, different. It's also pretty good, better than most lagers. But I don't like it quite as much as a well-made white ale.


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