Olds College Beyond Blonde

Reviewed by on July 4, 2016 in Local Heroes Guide

The Details

  • Brewery: Olds College Brewery

  • Origin: Olds, AB, CA

  • Rated On: July 4, 2016

  • Best Before: N/A

  • ABV: 6.0%

  • Ideal Temperature: cool to cellar temperature

  • Style: Belgian Pale Ale

  • Rating: GOOD !

The Review

Beyond Blonde appears to have been brewed with some sort of Low Countries yeast, with an attendant uptick in the base ABV – to 6%! Let’s get all wild and crazy now!

This 650ml bottle pours a mostly clear, medium golden amber colour, with two skinny-ass fingers of puffy, loosely foamy, and bubbly ecru head, which leaves some splattered paint-job lace in places around the glass as it quickly bleeds off.

It smells of lightly toasted pale and wheat malt, hints of chewed-out bubblegum, lightly phenolic Belgian yeast, a further sugary berry fruitiness, ephemeral ground black pepper spice, and tame leafy, herbal, and floral hop bitters. The taste is bready and doughy pale malt, subtly smoked caramel notes, some mixed generic drupe and berry fruitiness, loitering spicy Belgian yeast, and more understated earthy, herbal, and ethereally perfumed floral hoppiness.  The bubbles are pretty much integrated into a frothy nothingness after their opening effort, the body a solid middleweight, and generally smooth, the fruitiness going a long way in tamping down the otherwise spiteful yeast, at least in this regard. It finishes off-dry, more indistinct fruit and lingering mutt-ish malt the order of the day.

Well, if you’re going to go ‘beyond’ yer typical North American blonde ale, you either need the sidestep effects of Belgian yeast, brash hops, or a kick in the alcohol pants. Here, they’ve gone with 2 out of the 3, leaving the hops to the very outer limits of the equation, and, as already cynically noted, upped the booze a whole single point. The result is an interesting and easy to drink Old World blonde – with just a little extra warming, that I’m sure will make itself more apparent, soon enough.

Brady White

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