Rohrbach’s Blueberry Ale:
I’m going to be 100%honest here: Rohrbach’s Blueberry Ale is by far on my top five list of favorite beers. This is not because it is the best beer out there. But to me beer, like life, is so much more complex than about being perfect.
Corney cliches aside, Rohrbach’s Blueberry Ale represents three things for me. The people that matter, the concepts into which good beer should be devoted, and how the surprises to be had in a beer can be a gateway into enjoying beer.
Rohrbach’s is an amazing product of Rochester New York. Alongside such products of this small city which include the University in which I obtained my bachelor’s degree, Rohrbach’s makes up the essence of which for me is Rochester:
I first tried Rohrbach’s Blueberry Ale at a Rochester Red Wing’s AAA baseball game. It was interesting, but I would soon learn the importance of how good this beer could be in the presence of good company. I bought my first growler/tumbler of Rohrbach’s blueberry ale when my best friend visited me that same summer. We sat on my porch and finished the entire thing in less than two hours: it was way too easy to drink this blonde ale infused with natural blueberry.
I kept the beer in the back of my mind through the winter of 2010 and 2011. Certainly four months of snow and overcast skies were not ideal weather for a super flavorful but light blueberry beer. I drank many a stouts and porters. But then another great friend of mine came to visit in April and I no longer needed an excuse to bring back the ale.
I have drank this beer with some of the greatest company. Certainly my opinion of this beer was influence by the fact that they held very strong opinions of the beer. Our passions for the flavor and experience have influenced my love for the brew.
Much like music and art, great beer is best shared with others. But it seems like Rohrbach’s has also devoted a great deal of time to making quite a unique and original brew. Every other fruit beer I have tried pales far behind in comparison. Unless they hint at subtle fruit flavor (as Leffe blonde does with banana), or unless they are lambics, most wheat beers with fruit infused do not use the fruit flavor to compliment, but rather they alter the flavors. Blueberry Ale is unique because blueberry dominates the palate without overwhelming: Malt is complimented by a tender and refreshing blueberry linger. The beer is drinkable and flavorful.
Plain and simple, I don’t feel slightly uncomfortable with Blueberry Ale’s aftertaste. With UFO’s rasperry hefeweizen or Long Trail’s blackbeary wheat, I felt punched in the mouth by bitter, rather sour tastes. And, honestly sour and beer don’t mix for sour is to beer as expired is to milk, as moldy is to bread. You get the idea.
But Rohrbach’s blueberry ale does have a few flaws. The first one I noticed is consistency. I have bought five growlers of the beer so far, of which two were phenomenal, one was good, and one was mediocre. In other words, there is a slight gamble between each growler. So, I would highly recommend that if you come in contact with the brew, buy two [Cha ching]. The second flaw is that (as with all Rohrbach ales) it must stay cold at all times. This is because the Rohrbach’s is a small brewery that only brews their beers (as far as I know) in 64oz growlers or keg. As a result, though there is a unique and old-fashioned feeling to drinking their beers, they are pasteurized, and if they leave refrigeration for too long they will spoil. The final flaw isn’t so much a bad one (and it probably aided the great experiences I’ve had with the brew). But, once you open a growler, it must be finished in two days. As a result, you cannot selectively drink this beer like you would a six pack of bottles. But to be honest, this 4.6 ABV beer drinks quite quickly, and for two people a 64 ounce growler grants a good (classy) buzz. So invite your friends and get plastered (preferably outside)
Finally, Rohrbach’s, I owe you a huge nod. You enlightened me into the endless possibilities of beer. And honestly, you also made me realize a beer doesn’t have to be everybody’s favorite to be your favorite. Duh!
(Rohrbach’s if you ever read this, please start distributing outside of upstate NY.)
Fruit in Beer: 10/10
Pub Standard: 8/10 (Because they don’t sell it at enough places but they should)
Seasonal Concoctions: 9/10 (Few summer ales trump this on my ‘hell yes it’s on tap’ reaction)
Aroma: 9/10 (It smells like blueberries right away, and blueberries are good for memory and brain function, thus this beer must be good for you! [don’t hold me to that])
Surprises: 9/10 (the worst part of the surprise of the beer is how quickly it is finished. At 64 ounces, it’s like 4 pints, and at about $10 a growler ($8 + $2 growler deposit) it is only slightly cheaper than Yuengling on special)
Overall: 9.5/10 (Love it! Support Rohrbach’s!)