Tuesday, June 16, 2009
TBG Drinks: New Belgium's Skinny Dip Beer
Brewed By: New Belgium Brewing
Brewed In: Fort Collins, Colorado
Type: American Blonde Ale
What They Say: "You can drop everything for New Belgium's Skinny Dip, a full-bodied beer that's designed for the summer dress code. Cascade hops frolic with a splash of kaffir(!!!) lime leaf creating a bright, citrusy palate that's as crisp as chilling in a mountain pond."
Website: I covered New Belgium's website in a previous review. Skinny Dip has its own area on the site, featuring several water advocacy links where you can play the tamest version of "truth or dare" ever or vote for the water advocacy group most deserving of a $10,000 grant. There's a "green beer" joke somewhere in here, but I'm going to take the high road.
Why I Picked It: This is my fourth or fifth (or possibly 600th) review from the New Belgium family of brews. I'm also one of those lonely souls who "becomes a fan" of brands on Facebook. All of New Belgium's Skinny Dip-related posts spawn the kind of hyperbolic reaction that merits an independent reality check…from New Belgium's biggest fan!
Presentation (5): I'm not really feeling the labeling here. New Belgium is usually pretty good at capturing a mood or relaying a theme with their label artwork, but the yellow-gold frame seems trite for a summer beer. The discarded clothes on the shore blend in too much with the background and even the name of the beer seems a little silly. 2
Originality (5): Far as I can tell, these are the only three blondes older than the concept of American blonde ale. 1
Body (10): Pours a light golden color with a decent amount of carbonation and minimal head n' lacing. Obviously, we're on the thinner end of the spectrum but, Skinny Dip still fills out a pint glass better than, say, Budweiser. Damning with faint praise? Perhaps, but given the constraints of the rating system, it does look like a good beer. 6
Taste (10): Quite frankly, I was floored by the level of complexity. Again, I'll concede that I might be grading on a bit of a curve, but I can't remember the last blonde ale that had such a solid – albeit, non-invasive – hop flavor up front. It's immediately whisked away by a mild citrus follow-up and a refreshingly crisp finish that even Mrs. Bootleg mentioned. 9
Efficiency (10): You're not going to get anywhere with that ABV, unless you happen to be my 4'8", 100 lb. wife. Those goddam Bud Light commercials have forever ruined the word "drinkability" for me, so I'll just say that one would be able to drink several in a single sitting – as long as it's understood the buzz isn't immediately forthcoming. 3
Versatility (10): The wife whipped up some carne asada tri-tip tacos on Sunday and I've been washing them down for the last two nights with this. I don't want to start writing like those cookie-cutter advertisements, but Skinny Dip is the epitome of the seasonal summer beer: not too heavy, but still flavorful and accessible to most palates. 9
Grade: 30 (out of 50) – Good beer.
The above format has been lifted with permission from That Beer Snob Guy.