Another beer review from my Wisconsin trip last month! I was very impressed by Capital Brewery’s Autumnal Fire doppelbock, reviewed previously, and the other beer I tried from them was almost the polar opposite, their Wild Rice lager.
This is one of Capital Brewery’s seasonal beers, produced for the summer of 2009. Previous to ’09, the beer had not been produced since 2005, but I was glad they resurrected it! I don’t know what I was thinking when I picked this off the shelf… I mean, “wild rice?” An adjunct lager? I was REALLY going to take up a spot in a short bullpen with this? Well, for some reason I did, and it was a good choice!
Rice breaks down into fermentable sugars that can be used to brew beer. Big breweries use rice as an adjunct because of a clean flavor, and it’s cheap and cuts down on the amount of barley needed. Using wild rice, however, is another story altogether. Capital Brewery gets its wild rice from northern Minnesota. Wild rice is technically a grass, and brewing with it causes a pretty sticky mess. Although lightly hopped, the brewers wanted to get most of the flavor of the beer from the wild rice itself, so there is a touch of balance from the hops, but mostly the flavor is a little sweeter and very clean.
I didn’t get much aroma out of my plastic hotel glass, and I think it poured like a pilsner, with a gold color and white head. The aroma was hard for me to pick up, but my nose was working even worse than normal. I found the flavor to be sweet and a little nutty, maybe, but with a nice finish and no cloying sugars giving me goobers in the back of my throat!
I think a little balance came from the hops, and there was a tough of bitterness in the finish, but really it was an extremely easy beer to drink at 5.4% ABV and I remember thinking that this beer would be the perfect “lawnmower beer.” It was incredibly refreshing, clean, smooth and just a joy to drink. I could have used a few more that night!