It’s that time of the month again—time to knock the dust off some bottles! Our staple this month is Bigleaf Maple from Anchor Brewing. First brewed in 2013, it’s a newer beer from an older brewer. This seasonal beer is currently on shelves and, true to the Shelf Staple standards, is severely underappreciated. In fact, when I bought my first six-pack this year, it already had dust on it, perhaps because it isn’t a standard fall seasonal.
This beer get its name from the bigleaf maple, one of only three native maple trees in California. It’s also brewed with the syrup from the tree. The malt bill is not too complex; it’s a simple 2-row barley base malt and a blend of two caramel malts, which gives it its amber hue. It’s hopped with some buzzworthy hops: All the kettle hops (added in the boil) are Nelson Sauvin, which is an amazingly aromatic hop from New Zealand named after the Sauvignon Blanc grape. This variety is known for its (namesake) aromatic similarities to white wine or grapes, but it also has pungent and superb tropical and citrus fruit notes. The beer is dry-hopped with more Nelson, Cascade and Citra hops. If they advertised or marketed this beer based on the hops, which are nowhere to be found on the label or the case, this may be a more popular beer.
The beer pours a fine-looking dark amber with a billowy, thick, off-white head. The aroma is sweet. It has big notes of pine, honey and candied tangerines. At 6% ABV, the body is just right and doesn’t get in the way, while the rounded bitterness makes it very drinkable. The flavor has some more pine notes up front, along with some citrus and caramel, and it finishes with a bit of toasted malt.
Run out and get this beer while you can. Its season is up at the end of this month.
When you drink it, don’t forget to tweet it with #shelfstaple.