Well, it looks like I get to lead off with the review this week.
We convened at Deano's last Thursday night after a bit of a hiatus to review Chris's "Precious," Bell's Oberon Ale. And, wouldn't you know it, we reviewed the Oberon without Chris, as he had to spend the evening at home taking care of the young'un. We did, however, get Chris's blessing to go ahead without him (that is, according to Jason, so Chris, it's all Jason's fault if we in fact didn't get your permission).
Oberon, which is an American wheat ale, has become Bell's best-selling beer. It's not hard to see why that's so. Oberon pours to reveal a medium head. The beer itself is a cloudy golden color with a slight orange tinge. The nose is slightly citrusy but not powerful. It feels refreshing and clean in the mouth, leaving a slight bitterness but not unpleasant bitterness behind. The flavor is smooth, not cloying, and reminds me more of a lager rather than a wheat ale. But behind the smoothness is a bit of heft, a little bit of power that you don't commonly find in most lighter beers. It is that heft that sets Oberon apart and makes it stand out from its counterparts.
Because of its drinkability, Oberon would be a good "gateway" beer for those who are interested in trying out more craft beers. This is the beer to take with you to the track this May or to the grass picnic area behind the outfield at Victory Field this summer (or, if you're a soccer fan like me, to the Toyota Park parking lot for tailgating festivities). Oberon will be available until September.
My rating: A solid 4 mugs. It's not my favorite beer, but among lighter beers, it's the best I've been able to find.