Gaining substance in unlikely places
A Review of Malmgard Blond Ale by Malmgard Brewery
Posted on 7/10/2012 by Chops
One of the most rewarding experiences you can have as a craft beer fan is to drink within another culture. It's like drinking fine French wine in Paris or eating tapas in Spain. Environment adds a personal touch that you simply cannot recreate elsewhere. I recently partook in several of these unique experiences on a trip to the Baltic area of Northern Europe. One of my stops was in Helsinki, Finland where I was fortunate enough to visit the historic Haikko Manor. It was here where I had my very first taste of true Finnish beer by way of the Malmgard Brewery's Huvila Arctic Circle Ale. This beer was so delicious that I couldn't help but continue down their product line. Next up: the Malmgard Blonde Ale.

In the glass, this beer has a deep straw coloration that resembles light apple juice. It comes with a frothy white head that dissipates quickly. On the nose, I detected a remarkably clean grassy aroma with very little else. It's important to note that blonde ales should never be overly complex. They should be crisp, refreshing, easy to drink, and easy to grasp. So far we're right on the money.

That first sip was very special. This blonde ale actually has a lager-like mouthfeel, i.e. decently thick and surprisingly smooth. The hop profile is very crisp and adds a nice zesty quality to the core earthy character. Along with the main grassy flavor, I also detected some hints of herbs and pine resin. This beer is beautifully balanced yet bold for the style. The finish is quite dry and leaves behind a muted herbal bitter aftertaste.

Overall, Malmgard Brewery's Blonde Ale is a delightful brew with a saucy character. It has a big personality for the style, but retains its refreshing simplicity. Consequently, I can recommend this beer to any and all beer fans. Seasoned drinkers will find it to be a flavorful variation of an otherwise modest style. Novices will love this brew's bold yet approachable character. It's a fabulous bridge beer that should serve Finland's craft market very well. If my visit to Finland has taught me anything about craft beer, it's that I can still be surprised. I never expected that such a universally uniform style could gain substance in the most unlikely of places.
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Malmgard Blond Ale by Malmgard Brewery
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