Brews Clues: Quirky agave fruit packs smooth, light, crisp flavor
Issue date: 5/30/08 Section: Arts & Entertainment
Long known in Mexico for its tequila producing abilities, agave nectar is sweet and tasty, both being great qualities when it comes to brewing beer (the sugary sweetness converts to sweet alcohol, and of course its pleasant taste flavors the beer). Breckenridge Agave Wheat Ale doesn't use the tequila agave (Blue Agave), but Salmiana Agave. I'm not a botanist - don't expect me to know the difference. Like its blue cousin though, it is part of a wonderful beverage.
The beer pours a pale straw with about a quarter inch of cloudy white head. The body has a coloring resembling a vast field of wheat, the same stuff that went into the beer. It is a great translucent hue. Your eyes are drawn deep into the see-through gradient with a great satisfaction. The head dissipates and leave a faint coating on the top of the beer and also clings to the side of the glass. It also has very faint boozy smells followed by prominent citrus notes. This is pretty par for the course as far as the wheat beer style, but it is still a wonderful aroma. Not all wheat beers smell this good either, even if they are supposed to.
The Agave Wheat features a very wheat-forward flavor. The light bready taste leads into a smooth citrus flavor. That must be the agave. To be quite honest, I don't know what agave tastes like, so Breckenridge could have put none of it in the beer and I wouldn't have noticed. That's not to say that this is a bad tasting beer, but it just doesn't scream "agave." It tastes like a solid American wheat ale. That is good enough on its own though, even if the agave isn't detectable. But there are better American wheats out there. The beer is finished off with a mouth drying bitterness. The aftertaste remains briefly and leaves you quenched.
While the beer is regularly carbonated, the body is a bit thin overall. Of course this is a light bodied beer, but it goes beyond that to be slightly watery, almost even to American light beer levels (yikes!). While not the best sign of quality, this makes the beer easy to be chugged. That's fine though since there is no burn and it leaves your mouth feeling clean and refreshed, so it's not a bad idea to down a few over the course of a ball game.
There's a nice Mexican skull on the label wearing a sombrero, so I'd suggest pairing this beer with a spicy dish from south of the border. The bubbles and crisp flavor will help reduce the spiciness and the bit of sweetness in the body of the beer will complement it. Aside form that, since it is such a light beer, it should match up with equally light fare.