Brooklyn Local One Ale

April 26 2011 - 4:00 PM

I'm not sure why I've never written about this beer before; but Brooklyn Local One Ale, brewed by the craft brewing stalwart, NYC's Brooklyn Brewing, has been a favorite of mine for years.  I finally had a chance to revisit it recently.  Named for a Brooklyn train line in New York's subway system, this beer has much more to do with Brussels than the Big Apple. 

Given it's exquisite complexity, it's a difficult beer to describe, let alone classify.  It's part Belgian white ale and part hefeweizen.  When poured from its standard large format bottle, it explodes into the glass, quickly developing an enormous white head that settles atop a hazy, opaque, peach colored brew.  You're immediately alerted that you're about to imbibe a seriously carbonated beer with a strong wheat content.  The nose is ripe with sweet fruits, such as apricots and melons, a bit of citrus, and some honey.  The flavor changes as the beer disappears.  It starts with a bit of fresh baked bread and some honeydew melon and subsequently releases more orange and other citrus flavors, a bit of caramel, and some spice.  These flavors are clearly the handiwork of Belgian yeasts. 

Unlike true hefeweizens – and there are plenty out there – Local 1 never has that sometimes off-putting tart citrusy flavor to it.  Rather, it has a slightly sweet, mellow flavor on the finish, coupled with a bit of effervescence, and needs no fruit enhancement.  Your bartender wouldn't dare give you an orange or a lemon for this beer.  It stands elegantly on its own. 

I would move mountains – okay, I'd certainly walk a good 2 or 3 miles – to try Local 1 on tap.  Unfortunately, in Chicago, it's only available in the 750 ml bottles at liquor stores and quite a few bars that offer craft beer.  I usually see it for around $10 a bottle, a bargain given the way craft beer prices have exploded.