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Chicagoist's "Beer of the Week": Three Floyd's Gumballhead Beer

By Chuck Sudo in Food on Jul 18, 2006 6:15PM

2006_07_gumballhead.gifWeeks back, Chicagoist professed our love for wheat beers, and you responded by drinking the Pontiac out of Bell's Oberon at our second anniversary party. Today we bring to you a wheat beer that's tough as nails, a beer not for the faint of heart. A beer so strong and bitter it could only be named after a crusty, bitter, comic strip cat.

Three Floyd's Gumballhead Beer is, hands down, the hoppiest wheat beer we've ever tasted. For fans of Three Floyd's, that shouldn't come as a surprise. They throw enough hops in their beers that, had they been brewed in the age of Pharaohs, they could have been consumed on the spot when the tombs were unsealed. Gumballhead is brewed from red wheat and amarillo hops. When decanted, the reddish-orange color of this beer is more reminiscent of a red or India pale ale (which fooled nearly every beer geek offering their two cents worth at, with a medium haze, due to bottle conditioning; once the beer is bottled, extra yeast is added for a secondary fermentation.

The hops give off a pronounced citrus note on the nose. The extra hops make for a dry palate that doesn't just linger, it assaults. You'll also find notes of bread - from the yeast - and a good malt undertone. The head is off-white in color, with thin lacing, and medium carbonation. Chicagoist primarily buys this in 22-ounce bottles ($7.99, at Lush Wine & Spirits), but you should also be able to find it on draft and in six-packs.

For folks who want summer beer options away from weiss beer, Three Floyd's Gumballhead is like jumping off the deep end of the pool. If it appeals to your tastes, it'll spoil you from most other wheat ales. Three Floyd's Gumballhead Beer is Chicagoist's "Beer of the Week."