As warmer weather approaches people are starting to configure their loyalties and sign letters of intent to the summer beers beers they'll be drinking. Before that happens let me fill you in on the newest New Belgium seasonal offering, Rolle Bolle.
Firstly, let's cover the basics: raw materials. The malt bill is pretty straight forward, pale malt and some oats. The oats are key here as they lend a nice creaminess to the beer. The hops are American for sure, Cascade, Centennial, and Amarillo. All three of these offer up great citrus notes and some floral undertones. We fermented Rolle Bolle with an American Hefeweizen yeast. This hybrid is more subtle in its esters, the clove and banana are there, but muted. The last bit of raw materials information is of great importance. There is a generous fruit addition, and the fruits are pretty special: Monk Fruit and soursop. Until a few weeks ago I had never heard of either. But in the great Belgian tradition of brewing, where things like this happen all the time, the fruit was found, built upon and added to the beer. Both of these fruits live near the tropical, citrus family tree of flavor, soursop more pineapple-y and Monk Fruit a bit sweeter and maybe some hints of lemon. But really, what is all of this information going to do without drinking some Rolle Bolle and relating the experience, let's get to it...
Visual: A bright, white head sits on top of a pale gold pour. The foam leaves ample lacing.
Aroma: Sweet lemon and a hint of white wine lead the charge. There are subtle herbal/spice tones, but not overbearing. There is a tartness to the smell as well (not sure if you can "smell" tart, but I am not sure of how to describe it otherwise).
Taste: Among other things, the flavor hold two kinds of sweetness, the malt and the fruit. The malt is a pretty straight forward, backbone kind of thing, present and delicious. But maybe not "malty" in the traditional sense. Then there's the fruit. Before drinking this beer I had never had Monk Fruit nor Soursop, and even after drinking it I haven't had the fruits, you know, as fruit, so with the help of research and drinking I am am making a few assumptions. There is a fruit sweetness here that can only be attributed to the additions. It's refreshing and tropical and lemony and wonderful. The tartness from the aroma carries over gently here to offer a crisp-ness that makes this beer awesome (IMHO). And that crisp-ness is in concert (not war) with the creaminess afforded by the oat addition. Just delightful. The hops are not to be overlooked here either. All the citrusy, American hops play very well with the fruit. It's nice in that the hops keep the fruit from overpowering anything with sweetness. The balance of the two is key to Rolle Bolle.
Mouthfeel: Creamy and crisp... Is that even possible? I think it is. The key, I think, is that the creaminess is light (like the rest of the beer). The beer is sharp but smooth, easy and super refreshing to the palate.
Body: Light! It is a summer beer after all. I see Rolle Bolle as a super sessionable, easy drinker that will work for all summer duties/tasks.
Overall: 15.5/10. Seriously, I love easy drinking summer beers. I also like fruit beers when the fruit doesn't punch you in the face (I also like it when the fruit punches you in the face, but not in my session beers). Rolle Bolle nails it (I know I am super biased, and have yet to give a bad review here, but really, I mean it...).
My suggestion, for you dear reader, is that you run out and buy yourself a sixer of this beer and give it some sips, you will not be disappointed...
Alright, that's it for today, but stay tuned because the long and awesome story of Rolle Bolle is coming soon.