Asheville, North Carolina’s Burial Beer Co. is working hard to differentiate itself in a crowded local market. The brewery’s American pale ale Bonedagger is brewed with three varietals of wheat and hopped with Citra, Simcoe, and Idaho 7, including a Simcoe lupulin powder and Citra dry hop. Dry-hopping with lupulin powder always imparts an interesting aroma, one that is similar to the hop pellets used by homebrewers—highly concentrated and intense in a way that can’t be replicated by regular hop additions. Burial pairs the hop-heavy aroma with a wheat-prominent flavor for a unique take on the American pale.
Burial’s Bonedagger pours straw yellow with a faint haze lingering long after it settles down. A dense white head clings to the glass, with its lacing and fluffiness giving away the heavy reliance on wheat in the malt bill. It’s an inviting appearance, unlike the bloody dagger wielding skeleton on the can.
The aroma is Citra hop-heavy with its dank, grassy, and fruity grapefruit, citrus, and peach notes. Lupulin powder dry-hopping is an aroma shortcut that hits the mark, but can be unbalanced or one-note if not backed with additional dry-hopping or late hop additions. Bonedagger does not suffer that fate, as the Citra combines with the Simcoe lupulin powder for a well-rounded dry-hop aroma punch.
Burial’s Bonedagger boasts more aroma than flavor, but that may be by design.”
The aroma belies the taste, as Bonedagger is sweet and light, with the wheat’s grainy presence playing a strong role. It’s immediately obvious that this is a pale ale and not an IPA. The hops are present, but they don’t hammer you like they do in the aroma. Sweet citrus and peach complement the wheat flavor, before a quick bitterness interrupts and rounds out the finish. That dry moment cleans up the citrus and grain sweetness in Bonedagger, allowing the lingering flavor to be much more balanced.
Burial’s Bonedagger boasts more aroma than flavor, but that may be by design. At 5.5% ABV and 45 IBUs, it’s a beer that remains restrained and sessionable despite the complex hop bill. The wheat backbone makes this offering sweeter than most pales, but the light flavor is still in balance, with an aroma that makes Bonedagger interesting enough to grab if you get the chance.