As soon as I had drained the last drop of Fat Tire from my glass, I felt I would continue the thus far positive New Belgium experience and helped myself to a cold bottle of Sunshine Wheat. The label speaks to days of old, when stacks of wheat were threshed and bound by hand and set upright in the field. It seems to me it was at this point that the farmer, sweating, dirty and parched from the day’s heat, cracked open the ice box and reached in to pull out a icy beverage. Whether this is what New Belgium was going for on their label, I don’t know, but if they were going for refreshing on their beer, they hit the wheat on the head.
I have typically enjoyed wheats, but a large part of my positive experience was wrapped up in the unfilteredness of the brew. It felt a little meatier than an American lager and yet could still go down easy and be quite refreshing. Sunshine is, however, a filtered wheat and it poured a bright yellow. Dizzying bubbles of carbonation danced about the glass and the initially white, puffy head was quickly threshed to nothing. The scent was bready and citrusy with a bit of light nuts. The actual taste was quite good, a lemony freshness cleansing my palette. There were hints of apple and a bit of sour pear in the short finish. It reminded me of my days on the farm, threshing by hand, oh what I wouldn’t have given for a nice cool brew to cool me and help sustain my aching muscles. Ok, not really, but it seems like the perfect beer for a summer’s eve, pairing well with grill fare and good friends.