99 Bottles

Review: Smuttynose Bloom

Question: If April showers bring May flowers, what do May flowers bring?
Answer: Pilgrims

We're hurtling recklessly toward spring now. The first specifically spring beer reviewed in 99 Bottles this year is Smuttynose Brewing Company Bloom. This offering from the New Hampshire brewery crosses the line separating the metaphorical aspects of the season from the literal ones. Eight types of edible flowers were thrown into the kettle during the brew. If you're the kind of person who likes the sweet smell of dirt under her fingernails after a long day of tilling, this beer will be of interest to you.

Yarrow, lavender, chamomile, rose buds, elder flowers, calendula, nasturtium and dianthus flowers were grown specifically for this beer at Meadow's Mirth Farm in Stratham, N.H. The flowers are added to a Belgian golden ale base. The result is one of the more unique beers on the market.

bloom.jpg Bloom pours a medium amber with a pebbly, white head. The smell coming off this beer rivals that of an English garden. Spice and bubble gum also waft up from the glass, a product of the Belgian yeast.

Bloom tastes like a trip to your local florist. Some saisons can have flowery notes, but let me stress that there are actual flowers in this beer. This is exciting for beer geeks, but it's not so geeky that it's not enjoyable. The finish is buttery and not all that clean. I get pollen. As a one-time try this is a must, but I wouldn't make this my Friday night go-to.

There isn't a lot of Bloom to go around, only 25 1/2 barrels, Most of that will be put into 86 1/6 barrel kegs. The remainder of the batch is in a bottled-conditioned, 750-ml, cork-finished package. Bloom sells for a suggested retail price of $15. I imagine you'll be seeing it at the usual Boston bars in the coming weeks.

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