Somewhere near the end of 2013, New Belgium released details of what was going to be their newest year round beer: Snapshot Wheat. This beer was to be a blend of both a traditionally fermented wheat beer, and one fermented with the souring bacteria lactobacillus. Being a fan of the Berliner Weiss style made me excited to try this beer; with the assumption that it would be similar to that style of beer.
Of course, it is a blend of a lactobacillus beer, and is not full blown lacto fermented, so I wasn’t expecting a strong sourness. New Belgium was also very clear in their marketing that it has a “tart” flavor. But I was still hoping for something a little bit more than tart.
Lactic acid is commonly known for its clean, lemony sourness; similar to what you can find in yogurt. This lemon character is very present in Snapshot. The hops used also contribute, giving the beer a lemon zest aroma. The finish is also lemony, along with a lingering wheat flavor. Overall it’s a very lightly flavored beer, with some light spice and light grassiness. It’s great, but as I mentioned before, I wish there was a little bit more sourness. If I had to make a comparison, I’d say that this beer is as equally tart as an American Hefeweizen with a lemon wedge squeezed in it.
The point of this beer, may not necessarily be for it to serve as an entry level sour beer, but perhaps to be an entry level beer that doesn’t require a fruit wedge. Aside from the typical light lager, I would argue that the most popular beers in America would include Blue Moon with an orange wedge, Corona with a lime wedge, or a hefeweizen with a lemon wedge. Snapshot Wheat is as equally light and refreshing as those previously named beers, but is both more flavorful and requires no additional fruit garnish. Once people get a chance to taste this beer, I think it will prove to be a very popular beer for New Belgium.