Sunday, June 24, 2007

Blue Frog "Blonde Frog Ale"

To begin, it should be noted that Blue Frog is a favorite stop of mine when travelling out to the Bay Area or Wine Country. This isn't because they produce a lineup of beers to rival Bear Republic, Russian River or Toronado, but because they make wonderful thirst quenching beers that serve to refresh the palate. Their Hefeweizen, in my opinion, is one of the best in the state when compared to the Bavarian tradition. Blue Frog only recently started bottling and distributing off-site and today their beers can be found throughout Northern California, in 22oz bottles, in places like BevMo and good beer shops. It was in Nugget Market where I found this sample.

I don't know what the Blonde is supposed to be, with regard to style, but I believe it was inspired by the Pilsner, only with American flare.

The Blonde Frog's appearance is welcoming to say the least, the honey-like golden color with brilliant clarity and white creamy head that laces on the glass, all indicating that this isn't your average 'blonde'. In fact, I'm a bit hard pressed to see anything blonde about this beer.

The beer really comes alive with the first wiff, which proudly displays the dry hopping it went through prior to its bottling. The hops displayed are peppery and slightly grapefruity, and I am guessing these have Noble herritage, even though I suspect these were grown in the US. Along with the fruity spice is a subtle sweetness that is a bit toffee like - again, pales in comparison to the hops.

At first taste I am again reminded this beer is more than a typical blonde. Big initial sweetness of toffee - more than was found in the aroma - and quickly balanced by a wonderful hop bite that is not overly bitter, nor is it at all resinous. The blonde finishes a bit clean, sweet and dry, and has a moderate hop bittering that lasts into the aftertaste.

In all, this is a great beer, with a lot of aroma and big flavors and a healthy medium body. The beer seems to have been designed to pair woderfully with a broad variety of meals - from salads to BBQ - and is also great on its own. I think you'll agree.

Score: 4/5