Heading back to 12 Gates Brewing Company, this time to tackle their Cherry Vanilla Wheat beer, a selection from their rotating wheat series. I got word from 12 Gates that this beer will be experiencing some changes come next spring so enjoy this bit while you can. And we shall see what next spring brings us!
The Beer: Cherry Vanilla Wheat
Style: American Wheat Ale
ABV: 4.8% IBU:15
Malts: White Wheat
As always 12 Gates provides insight what to expect when cracking open a cold one! Both on their website and on the side of each can.
‘Our interpretation of the American Wheat Ale begins with 50% White Wheat, and a blend of German Pilsner and Pale Malts with a touch of Crystal. Magnum and Mosaic hops make up the additions along with our house yeast. The magic happens when we add Bourbon Madagascar Vanilla Beans and Tart Cherry Concentrate from Singer Farms Naturals. The result is a smooth and highly drinkable cherry vanilla wheat ale with a pronounced cherry nose and lingering soft vanilla finish.’
Cherry Vanilla Wheat pours exactly what I would expect for a Wheat beer. My glass is filled with pale straw colored beer holding a slgithly hazy, unfiltered appearance. After the immediate pour I was able to see some sediment floating around, but since then everything has settled to the bottom. Not too much of a head, but a soft covering consistent with a frost covering the grass on a late fall morning.
The aromas come to be a nice treat for the nose. The cherry takes up most of the stage but deeper down their is some nice vanilla floating around. Along side the cherry and vanilla is a softer wheaty, malt aroma. Sits in the back but really gives the beer a firm malt foundation. Be sure to take a good long sniff, the aromas are perfect and really prepare you for what is coming.
Popping The Cherry
As simple as this beer may appear. There is a lot to appreciate with each sip.
At the very beginning of each sip there is a soft wheat feel that seems to spread easily throughout my entire mouth. But also there is an easily noticed mellow cherry flavor. I say mellow because in no way is the cherry flavor jumping out at you in an all consuming manner. Not at all, it’s allows you to break the surface without completely going under. Shortly after I’m noticing some vanilla undertones that eventually come together with the cherry flavor. More towards mid sip I would say the wheat style of the beer begins to show its head a bit more. A slight crisp malty feel at this point in time. The cherry and vanilla flavors continue to walk softly through with some other light fruity flavors, I’m guessing from the Mosaic hops.
The back end of this beer is perfect. It sort of moves in two directions. What I mean is when first moving towards the swallow there seems to be more of cherry flavor and the vanilla almost disappears. It’s a not a surge of cherry, but more noticeable at this time. But as soon as you get a grasp on the cherry flavor, the vanilla steps right in and pushes the cherry flavor aside. It’s still there but the vanilla is more prevalent, leading up to the ‘lingering soft vanilla finish’ that 12 Gates spoke of. Now I can’t imagine there was a substantial amount of Magnum hops used, but am I sensing a small touch of bitterness at the end of the swallow? It comes off like a little puff and then instantly dissipates. Or maybe it was a touch of tart coming from the cherries. Either way it was enjoyable. After the soft hit of bitterness or tart, the vanilla really kicks in and drives it home for finish. It’s just the right amount of vanilla with a soft sprinkling, if you can even call it that, of cherry.
At the end of the day what you’re left with is a combination of wheat and vanilla. The malts provide a nice creamy mouthfeel with a blanket of vanilla aftertaste. At times I do notice a touch of cherry poking its head out but that comes and goes. A very pleasant beer, from beginning to end.
If I may be honest for a minute Cherry Vanilla Wheat is not my favorite among 12 Gates’ rotating wheat series. Their Elderberry Wheat will always take the gold for me. With that being said, I really enjoyed this beer tonight. The entire writing process was fun and wholeheartedly enjoyable. The ways the flavors of this beer move around each other combined with the malts and mouthfeel. This beer is as smooth and it is drinkable, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it and won’t stop at just one!