Breathing New Life
A Review of Buddha's Hand by Breckenridge Brewery
Posted on 8/11/2014 by Chops
An unshakable sense of adventure has become the heart and soul of the American craft beer culture. American brewers as a collective tend to lampoon things like the Reinheitsgebot, Germany's rigid beer purity law, and instead embrace a carefree attitude towards brewing. It's why our beer store shelves are full of products with ten syllable names and wacky ingredients. It's a lot of fun and they always keep our taste buds guessing, for better or for worse.

One of the quickest ways for a beer bottle to find its way into my basket is to present some weird ingredient I have never heard of before. Such was the case when I came across Breckenridge's Buddha's Hand, a Belgian Witbier brewed with a tropical fruit of the same name. This unique citron fruit, which originates in India and China, can be ''segmented into finger-like sections, resembling the hand of Buddha.'' Brewing with the fruit results in ''a crisp and refreshing ale with a subtle citrus zest''. Never one to question the wisdom of Breckenridge, I nodded in approval and popped the cap.

In the glass, this beer had the classic warm hazy yellow coloration of a good Belgian Wit. It came with a frothy white head that had nice retention. On the nose, I was greeted by a sweet bready aroma complete with lemony citrus and a dusting of herbs. It was a very standard introduction for the style and I could not immediately tell what the Buddha's Hand fruit was adding to the profile. It just came across as little more than a solid Belgian Wit. With no obvious surprises, I passed the detective work onto my taste buds.

Ah, and there it was. To my taste buds, the Buddha's Hand fruit presented itself as a pungent pineapple or ripe starfruit. It definitely amplified tropical character, which is a lovely compliment to any Witbier. Rounding out the flavors were familiar notes of Belgian bread, lemony citrus, various herbs (namely coriander), plus a hint of grass and banana. The hop profile was very mild and acted as more of an herbal compliment. The beer was a smooth easy drinker with a light-to-medium body. The finish was light, clean, and exited with a pleasant aftertaste of sweet herbal bread.

Overall, Breckenridge's Buddha's Hand Belgian Witbier is a delightful summertime treat. It breaths new life into a very familiar style, which is no easy task. Although initially hard to describe, the Buddha's Hand fruit definitely steals the show and creates a unique concoction that marries both Belgian Wit and German Weizen traits. Any fan of wheat-based beers will appreciate this brew. It's one I can easily recommend to seasoned beer fans and novices alike. It's very accessible and equally tasty. Once again, I must tip my drinking hat to Breckenridge for yet another delicious creation. Namaste!

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