Beer review: Breckenridge Agave Wheat Ale

  • Photo by Tessa Berg
By
From the June 14, 2012 edition

About the brewery: Breckenridge Brewery opened in 1990, before an avalanche of craft brewers hit Colorado, in its namesake town. The brewery expanded a couple of years later to Denver and to larger-scale bottling capabilities. Breckenridge beers are now available in 32 states, and the business produces more than 40,000 barrels annually.

About the beer: Agave nectar is the unique selling point of this unfiltered wheat ale. You might have seen agave nectar on grocery store shelves next to other sweeteners; it’s touted as being a healthier alternative to sugar. Agave nectar is thinner and lighter than maple syrup, and it has a distinct, vaguely herbal flavor. It might work in those granola bars you’re baking, but it didn’t work for me in this beer.

The sweet agave nectar was a distraction from, rather than a complement to, the otherwise refreshing flavor of this wheat ale. The body felt heavy in relation to the light alcohol content (4.2 percent ABV), and that didn’t make me want to swig one on a hot afternoon.

It was disappointing, because Breckenridge makes some memorable beers, and the packaging — depicting a skull clutching wheat in its jaws — illustrates the spirit of the product well.

Breckenridge, which publishes terrific recipes using its beers, suggests using Agave Wheat Ale in a beer-ginger chicken marinade. Sounds great.