Beer Man: Vanilla is a stand out in Dust Bowl’s blonde ale

California Line Vanilla Blonde Ale, from Dust Bowl Brewing Co., in Turlock, Calif., is 4.5% ABV.

Beer Man is a weekly profile of beers from across the country and around the world.

This week: California Line Vanilla Blonde Ale.

Dust Bowl Brewing Co., Turlock, Calif.


California Line Vanilla Blonde is only the second beer I’ve tried from Dust Bowl; last July I was impressed by its Change Order American India Pale Ale.

Vanilla Blonde uses flaked oats to add extra body and creaminess and white wheat for a touch of sweetness. Vanilla beans are added after fermentation to add not only extra flavor, but also extra vanilla aroma.

The beer was a light amber color with a white head that steadied to about a quarter-inch head during the sampling. Vanilla and light grain were the main aromas, as well as the main flavors.

More: Beer Man: This American India pale ale has a kick.

A bit of citrusy lemon was in the background of the flavor, and the body and mouthfeel of the ale was creamy, while ending with a somewhat dry finish. The hops were more European than American, meaning a more grassy addition as opposed to pine and citrus.

For those looking for a decent light amber or blonde ale with a little extra flavor, California Line Vanilla Blonde Ale, at 4.5% ABV, does the trick.

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The ale is available all year from Dust Bowl; the brewery distributes in California, Nevada and Vermont. Its Beer Finder link is here. I expect that distribution to change in the next couple of years — Dust Bowl sales increased 81% from 2016.

More: Beer Man: Jubelale will warm up winter.

For Wisconsin readers, I found out the day I wrote this that New Glarus Brewing Co. Has once again released its Spotted Cow Grand Cru. I reviewed this ale very favorably in 2016 — it amplifies all that is good about the regular Spotted Cow, especially with the orange peel and coriander, but with an ABV of 8.5%.

I had assumed it was a one-off specialty beer from New Glarus, but there it was beckoning me from the shelves. I bought two four-packs right off the bat. Its Beer Finder link is here. New Glarus only distributes in Wisconsin.

Many beers are available only regionally. Check the brewer’s website, which often contains information on product availability by mail. Contact Todd Haefer at [email protected]. To read previous Beer Man columns, click here.

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