Beer Blogging - New Belgium Springboard Ale
According to the description on the side of the bottle, Springboard Ale "combines oats, ancient Chinese herbs and Mt. Hood hops to maintain a balanced equilibrium for such an exhilarating ale. This cloudy blonde has a spirited threshold, and a creamy body, followed by a refreshingly dry finish." The front of the label says that it's a blend of 98% ale brewed with Wormwood, Lycium and Schisandra, and 2% ale aged in oak barrels. Let's see if all that verbiage adds up to a tasty beverage.
The pour: well, it certainly is a cloudy blonde. There's a big head that comes up as I finish pouring, and then just as quickly fades away to lace. I must have poured it too quickly, because there's a layer of yeast left in the bottom of the bottle.
The aroma: it's almost fruity, actually, which I didn't expect from the description on the label. The main aroma seems to be lemon, but not a hoppy lemon peel. There's no malt to speak of. It certainly smells like a seasonal brewed for springtime.
The taste: They nailed the description of the body - it is very creamy. There's almost no carbonation, which is kind of strange in a beer with this delicate of a flavor. The first flavor to hit you is a very light malt, not the strong toasted biscuit that I've come to expect from New Belgium beers. After that is the creamy section of the beer, which has that lemon flavor and also some very light hops. The aftertaste is almost tangy, which I think comes from the herbs but I can't be sure. Overall this beer is very different from anything I've ever had from New Belgium. That's not a bad thing; it's always good to see that a brewer is trying new things.
The rating: 7/10. The flavors, once you can pick them out (they're very faint), work well together. The reason that it didn't get a higher rating is this: when a seasonal has a light, almost fruity flavor like this, I'm looking for it to be refreshing, a warm day kind of beer. This one almost gets there, but the aftertaste detracts from that a bit and the drinkability suffers as a result. I think the Chinese herbs take away from my enjoyment of the beer. Your mileage may vary, of course, and I'd say it's worth buying a 6-pack and trying it.