Whale Ale 5.5% ABV
American Pale Wheat Ale
Six Row Brewing Company
Whale Ale? I’d get it if this beer was brewed in Maine or Washington State, but not a beer brewed in Missouri. I guess technically Missouri isn’t a landlocked state, and this beer is brewed in St. Louis, which is obviously right on the Mississippi. Still, I can’t remember ever hearing of a Mississippi river whale.
These weren’t exactly my first thoughts upon seeing a 4 pack of pint cans of this beer. But these thoughts did occur in short order, as I can be a cynical bastard at times. Then I saw the pour instructions on the can and forgot all about my bewilderment about the name. I became amused and excited to follow the interactive and fun pouring instructions.
Label artwork, I confess, does have an impact on which beers I buy, as attested to in my last review. Though the label on this beer isn’t nearly as captivating as that Coronado brew, it still won me over.
It wasn’t until I cracked open, poured, swirled and emptied my first can into a glass that I read the description of the beer printed on the label:
“Six Row Whale® is a blend of ten different malt varieties giving this very drinkable beer the characteristics of both a Wheat and Pale Ale. We coined the name to highlight the hybrid nature of this beer and wide range of flavors. The pronounced hop aroma balances the bready softness of Wheat and Pale Ale malt. No whales were harmed in the making of this small batch, hand-crafted Ale. 25 IBU”
There you have it, not only does the name make sense, it makes perfect witty and efficient sense.
I must agree right off that this beer is “very drinkable.” It is very smooth, with a creamy mouthfeel. It has a straightforward Hefeweizen or Wheat Ale front to it. Then the Pale Ale notes shine in the finish, providing a nice, if subtle, bite of bitterness. This is an ideal late spring and summer beer, light and refreshing yet still abounding in flavor.
I didn’t realize how many American Pale Wheat Ales I’d had until I checked my beer history on Untappd. I’ve had 8 different beers of this style. The Whale Ale is definitely the best of the bunch, excluding the Lagunitas Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ Ale, which has a 2% higher ABV and almost twice the IBU level1. I’d put that beer in a slightly different category from the rest of the American Pale Wheat Ales I’ve had.
I also picked up a 4 pack of the Six Row Archnemesis Midnight, an Imperial Black India Pale Ale, when on my recent visit to Shiloh, Il, just 20 miles outside of St. Louis. I look forward to reviewing that beer next week. I’m very happy to have made that trip, as I was able to find these Six Row beers that I can’t get in Springfield, Il. I also went a bit nuts with grabbing beers from another St. Louis brewery, Urban Chestnut Brewing Company. I will be reviewing those beers in the coming weeks as well. Recently I’ve been focused on Schlafly, I’m happy now to discover the other craft beers that St. Louis has to offer.