Chengdu: Wheat (China: Wheat Ale: 5.2% ABV)

Visual: Cloudy peach skin with large off white head.

Nose: Vanilla. Peach. Slight sulphur. Brown bread. Toffee.

Body: Wheaty. Creamy. Lemon sherbet. Prickling mouthfeel. Peppery. Vanilla toffee. Apricot. Squeezed lime.

Finish: Cream. Peach. Wheat and peppery. Moderate bitterness. Lemon. Slight sour twist. Lime cordial. Banana and cloves.

Conclusion: This feels like a mix between a wheat ale, a Belgian wit and a hefeweizen – so pretty much hitting all the wheat beer bases. It takes a few notes from each and adds what tastes like American hops into the mix to bring this creation to us.

It has the more solid body of a standard wheat ale – pushing soft lemon and lime notes into a moderately creamy base – however it also has a soft peppery spice character that reminds me of the Belgian interpretation. From the hefeweizen style I found a mix of banana and clove notes in the finish. While a mix of peach and apricot high notes declare the higher hop influence than normal.

So, a whole wealth of influences – is it any good. As I seem to be saying a lot this trip, it is solid but not stand out. The texture is solid – creamy with the wheaty character giving a prickling mouthfeel. It has a higher than normal, awakening but not harsh, hop character and bitterness. The fruit notes and gentle and soothing and the spice notes give it pep. Nothing stand out but everything works.

A solid wheat -probably you only need to have one in the session as the flavours could get heavy and wearing if overdone, but definitely enjoyable for one.

Background: Doing research on this brewery was hard, mainly as its name is just the name of the city – best I can tell it is linked with the pub I tried it at – The Beer Nest in Chengdu. Anyway, doing search for “Chengdu Wheat” brought be up what appeared to be other breweries’ wheat beers, so I am just winging it for background info on this one. As mentioned I tried this at The Beer Nest, a small place with a large bottle selection (including some very expensive westvleterens) and a few taps – I also tried Chengdu IPA, which was distinctly sub optimal in my mind. I think this is a wheat ale – as mentioned in the notes it flirts with a lot of varied wheat styles so it was hard to pin down. Worth noting, this pub has plastic willies behind the bar. I have no idea why. I approve though.