I needed to give this one a try after reading Derek's post on the same the other night. My first try of MBC's Peeper was not as positive as Derek's, but I wanted to like it. I figured Zoe might be more my speed after reading Derek's review.
After a bad pour (check out the pics), I was underwhelmed by the nose. It was really hard to get much. I took a quick sip and BOOM.. it was too cold. I let it warm a few degrees and went in for take two.
It pours a deep amber with a nice head that clings to the side of the glass as it slowly recedes. The smell is very subtle, so subtle that a few degrees made all the difference for me. It's not a hop bomb as Derek points out, but it smells almost like a pine forest after a rainstorm. If that sounds like a crock of shit, close your eyes and give it a try. It's there.
While it's not heavy on the hops, it is a potpourri of malts. It's really smooth and balanced, with the hops keeping the malt in check. It's by no means a strong beer, but it's not thin either. If you like Anderson Valley Boont Amber, but wish it had a little more hops, you'll enjoy this beer. Derek mentioned Troegs Nugget Nectar… I don't think that's fair. NN is a hop bomb that'll rip your tongue out. This is a much more subtle brew.
If you've never tried Zoe, you owe it to yourself to seek it out. Just make sure it's not too cold when you serve it.
Vital Stats: Poured from a 22oz bottle into my trusty pint glass. Served at approximately 50F. 7.2% ABV.
Taste: B+. I'm creating a new category for beers like this… it's a Gateway Craft Beer. I'll serve this to guests that don't typically drink craft beer.
Drinkability: A-. This is actually a lot more drinkable than the ABV suggests. Enjoy!