Beer Review: Oarsman Ale [Bell’s Brewery]

Bell's Oarsman Ale

Oarsman Ale
Brewery: Bell’s (Kalamazoo, Michigan)
Style: American Pale Wheat Ale
ABV: 4.0%

Bell’s has been one of my favorite breweries for a while now, and I have fond memories of them for helping to introduce me to the wonderful world of craft beer. Because of this, I did not hesitate to pick up a six pack of Oarsman Ale, a beer I have never seen before. I wish I had taken a look at the label before doing so, however, because I was not aware that this is a sour ale. I am not opposed to sour brews, but they are not something I typically seek out.

The Oarsman Ale is labeled as “Bouyant, tart and refreshing from using traditional sour mash methods.” Tart is definitely an apt description, as there are hints of lemon that hang around on the tongue after tasting. The aforementioned sourness is present but thankfully not too overwhelming. This is a light wheat beer with little body, and unfortunately it lacks the punch that could take it to the next level.

It almost seems that the Oarsman Ale is stuck in limbo between being an American pale wheat ale and a full-on Belgian sour, and this really holds it back overall. As a self-proclaimed “session beer”, this is a decent offering, but it is not something I will pursue again in the future.


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