Beers in Review: Two favorites

We've reached the month of May, which means summer is approaching (or here, as in Columbia, SC). That makes it the perfect time to write about two of my favorite beers. One is a summer seasonal wheat ale, while the other is a year-round wheat beer crossed with some interesting global flavors. Frankly, I'm stunned I hadn't written about these beers yet, especially the year-round offering (considering I've only been writing since the fall).

First up, the seasonal from Bell's Brewery, Oberon Ale, which for me is pretty much THE example of what a wheat ale should be. The ale pours a hazy, orange peel color and has a light body. The "orange peel" concept continues into the taste for me, as I detected both citrus like orange and lemon as well as citrus peel flavors. There are also some grain or wheat notes, along with some mild spices and a very mild hint of bitterness. Oberon tends to be available for a longer period of time than most summer seasonals; it is reportedly available from April to August. As one of the ideal summer wheats, it's one I'll enjoy that entire time. This is a true go-to beer.

Next is one of the first truly unique beers I ever tasted, Westbrook Brewing Company's White Thai witbier. A little lighter than the Oberon, more a straw color, but also pretty hazy and light in body. This beer has a crisp, tart opening with some sweet orange and lemon citrus notes. Very quickly, the "Thai" portion of "White Thai" asserts itself, as notes of ginger and lemongrass become prominent, with some other spices in the background. The ginger and spices carry through the rest of the sip and even into the aftertaste. A wonderfully complex and very different type of witbier.