Skal Norwegian Wheat Ale | ABV 5.8%
BJCP Style: Belgian Witbier
Hops: Unknown (Typically Noble – Saaz, Hallertauer, Goldings | Malts: Unknown (Typically Pale or Pilsner and Wheat with a touch of Crystal)
Brewery: Akademia Brewing Co.
City: Athens, GA – 150 Crane Drive, Athens GA, 30606
Appearance: Slightly hazy, straw yellow. Foamy white head, tiny tightly compacted bubbles with moderate retention.
Aroma: Floral, mild lemon, hints of apple and banana esters.
Flavor & Aftertaste: Mild citrus and grainy. Very restrained bitterness. Low sweetness.
Palate: Light bodied, dry and crisp. Moderately low carbonation. Finish is short, dry and crisp.
Akademia Brewing Co. is one of my favorite small brewpubs in Georgia. It sort of lives in the shadow of red hot Creature Comforts in Athens, GA; but manages to separate itself with a different type of creativity and focus. Where as Creature Comforts pumps out mostly variations of Pale Ales, IPAs, and Sours; Akademia produces more Stouts, Porters and a handful of Lager styles. Then there is Skal, a Witbier (or some may say it’s Farmhouse Ale) that utilizes a unique yeast strand dubbed Kveik. What’s so special about Kveik? Typical ale yeasts ferment between 68 and 72 degrees F. Kveik can ferment at much higher temperatures – 80 even 90 plus degrees F. This helps speed up the brewing process without producing strange off flavors while maintaining stable ester aromas batch to batch. Essentially, it is a more forgiving yeast in the brewing process.
Skal was the first beer I’ve tried with Kveik yeast and I found that I liked it equally as well as other Witbier style beers with “traditional” ale yeasts. It is the perfect summer time beer. It is very light bodied and refreshing, yet provides enough citrus and fruity flavors and aromas to keep it interesting. Finishes nice and crisp without any bitterness that lingers.
As far as who would like Skal, if you prefer super hoppy IPAs, dark malty lagers or complex Belgian ales, this would not be the beer for you. If you like something light, flavorful and crisp, this is the beer for you. In my view, there is nothing better than kicking back on a hot, humid 90 plus degree Georgia summer day with a light, crisp and refreshing beer that just drinks so easy. Skal is definitely a summer favorite. Morgan Wireman is the brewmaster at Akademia and I have had some communications with him regarding his background and brewing processes. I found him to be very open, thorough and creative, so it’s easy for me to trust the beers he puts out are going to be high quality. I am greatly appreciative of his feedback from entertaining my questions.
Skal is available on tap and To Go in 16 oz. cans at the brewery. It is also available throughout most of North Georgia in 16 oz. cans at local bottle shops and package stores.
Thanks for reading, until next time…Let Us Drink Beer!