For this installment of Tasting Notes, Tuesday has arrived and brought with it the inspiration – or excuse – to daydream while day-drinking a pour of Stargazer White from Highland Brewing (Asheville, North Carolina).
Named after the Stargazer Lily that blooms in mid-to-late summer, Highland Stargazer is a fresh take on the Witbier style that employs the use of grapefruit peel, candied ginger, and coriander in its recipe. The stylistic tweaks continue from there as Highland’s brewers reinforce the “spicy character of the Belgian ale yeast” with added spice notes from Saphir hops and locally sourced rye malt. Clocking in at a sessionable 4.8% ABV, the summer-appropriate Highland Stargazer is here to supply craft beer fans with “a bright and balanced white ale in a stellar can.”
Stargazer White is available now in 6-packs of 12 oz. cans and on draft. You can expect to find this Seasonal offering at craft beer establishments located in Alabama, Florida, North Carolina and throughout the rest of Highland Brewing’s distribution footprint.
Now that we are all a little more familiar with this new Seasonal, let’s crack open these cans and get lost in fanciful thought with some Tasting Notes!
Tasting Notes for Stargazer White from Highland Brewing
Appearance: A careful pour produces a soft-yellow-colored brew that is capped with right at a finger of wispy, airy white foam. When held to direct light, the yellow gains some vibrancy and intensity. The beer is slightly cloudy but remains clear enough to display the exuberant carbonation presence streaming throughout. Head retention is decent but falls quicker than expected to a thin cap that still retains the ability to leave wide streaks of lace behind on the glass whenever it is jostled.
Aroma: The aromatics kickoff with a pronounced and distinct ginger presence that eventually settles down enough to allow earthy and spicy hop tones to come forward. Citrusy coriander then builds from this and brings with it gentle notes of grapefruit and lemongrass.
Taste: The grains surprising get top billing here, starting things off with slightly sweet wheat and spicy rye. The malts act as a solid foundation to carry the brighter, more assertive ginger and grapefruit notes that follow closely behind. The hops then gently work their way in, offering complementary earthy, floral and spicy notes. The experience closes beautifully with just a bit of bubble gum and musky coriander.
Mouthfeel: Light side of medium in body with an effervescent carbonation level, Stargazer is all about being easy-drinking and refreshing. The beer is wonderfully balanced across the board as the spices, hops and grains all know that this experience requires focus and teamwork. The 4.8% ABV is not at all noticeable, upping the refreshment level even further. Aftertaste is minimal, leaving just a slight trace of ginger behind.
Final Thoughts: Just as the brewery hoped, Highland Stargazer comes together to be an updated, slightly exotic take on the Belgian Wit/White style. The ginger adds a fun new dimension to the flavor and aromatics but does so without taking anything away from the style’s trademark wheat and coriander notes. The addition of grapefruit peel rather than orange is also a nice touch that adds just a grace of balancing bitterness that the style often begs for. There is not one ingredient added to this beer that ever considers getting aggressive, and that is no small feat when you are working with ingredients such as ginger, coriander and grapefruit peel. Everything just knows its role, works for the greater good, and results in an ultra-refreshing brew that is absolutely perfect for summer sipping. Speaking of sipping . . . we are going to get back to that and encourage you to pick up a sixer of Highland Stargazer so that you can do the same. Prost!