Deconstruction - Odell Brewing Company, Fort Collins
Odell makes good beer. Not many people who argue that point. The most frustrating and disappointing part of Odell's beers are their price point. Great beers aren't cheap to make, just look at the price tags on Dogfish Head and Russian River bottles. Actually, neither Dogfish or Russian River are available every where so not everyone may be aware of this, but it does bring up yet another point... Great beer is in great demand. $20 a bottle isn't unheard for a bottle of wine, in fact it's even considered a bargain in most circles. For beer however, $20 is a steep barrier to entry for most people. Some of Odell's more premium beers top out at $25 for a 750 at my local liquor store. Honestly, that's a little too premium for me. I'd love to try those beers but I can't commit at that price. This bottle of Deconstruction Golden Ale (which is a more modest $12 or $15 depending on your retailer) has just convinced me I need to save up for Odells highest tier of ales.
That last sentence is honestly selling the Deconstruction a little short. If I never bought another Odell beer aside from Deconstruction, I'd be a very happy man. This is a world class beer at a fair price and it's something I'd gladly drink with just about any meal. Odell Deconstruction is, mostly generically speaking, a Golden Ale... That's a label a lot of beer nerds will quibble about because it's really just an umbrella term for Strong Ales, Blonde Ales, Belgian Pale Ales, etc. For what it's worth I'd definitely put this under the Strong Ale category. But that's just all semantics... who really cares if the bottle says Golden Ale or Strong Ale? To Odell's credit, the label of this beer is pretty informative. There's a breakdown of what you're getting in this beer, which is:
Pretty intriguing, huh? I've had plenty of barrel aged beers but I can't say any of them have been blended between oak aged beer, bourbon barrel beer AND wine barrel beer. That has to be incredibly labor intensive, not to mention the logistics of storing all those barrels...
There is a whole lot on this beer's label that already had me convinced I wanted to drink it before I even saw the $13 price tag. This bottle of Deconstruction sat in my fridge for a week before I finally got around to drinking it. I was waiting for a day when I could sit down and really commit a couple of hours to this beer. With a style this complex I knew it'd take me a while to get through everything. Finally, on a beautiful sunday afternoon in later October, I popped the cork on this bottle of Odell Deconstruction and fell in love with craft beer all over again, and no, I'm not being overly dramatic.
I opened the corked and caged bottle of Deconstruction as it rested on my hip. I can never tell how much kick these things are going to have so I usually over compensate and aim for a spot in the ceiling where no one will be the victim of a ricochet cork. I was delighted when a loud POP! signaled the cork's departure but it was accompanied by a torrent of suds that erupted from the bottle. I can't say I've ever seen anything quite like it with a beer. With Champaign, sure, you'll see foam all the time, but beers... not the kind I've been drinking. I waited for the bottle to settle a bit before I tried pouring it into two Odell flutes I picked up in Fort Collins a week ago. The Deconstruction poured a nice Hefeweizen shade of golden yellow into the glasses before settling into a darker, nearly bronze colored body. Deconstruction in a glass was hazy but not opaque, there are a fair number of bubbles visible but not as many as you'd expect given the eagerness of the cork and foam to exit the bottle. The head on this beer is insane. I poured one of the glasses about half full and watched as the head continued to rise, and rise and rise until it spilled over the side of the glass.
This beer's aroma crept through the two inches of head that sat atop my glass. There were hints of barrel aging but it took a back seat to the white wine character and lighter "Golden Ale" notes of the beer. It's a light, citrusy aroma with a little malt and an underlying oakiness, it's all very interesting and just begs of you, "drink me..."
My first sip of the Deconstruction wasn't so much an epiphany as it was love at first sight... or sip. There's a lot more oak and barrel aged flavor here than the aroma would lead you to believe, but it isn't overwhelming and it certainly doesn't make this beer a one trick pony. There's a fantastic balance to this beer, not just with the flavor but the texture and the carbonation. Those bubbles I saw when I poured this beer are not noticeable at all when the beer hits your tongue. It's a smooth ride from the foam to the hearty oak and semi dry white wine flavors to the warm booziness of this beer's body. The finish continues along those same lines, leaving you with a sweet, barely tart and well rounded finish that left me absolutely speechless...
Would I recommend this beer to a friend? No, only because I'm greedy and I want to procure all of the bottles from the liquor store first, then... sure, I'd recommend it. Honestly, this beer is amazing. I have no complaints. It's nearly perfect in every way. I look forward to stocking up while the Deconstruction is still on the shelves and enjoying this beer for months to come... if my stock can even last that long.